HB 50 is an adult use legalization bill that would amend Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis act. The prime sponsor is Representative Wheatley.
This bill was assigned to the health committee and would create a framework for adult use license applications modeled after Act 16, PA’s medical marijuana bill. The bill would amend the language of past and current laws from “marijuana” and change it to “cannabis”.
This bill would allow for the home grow of up to 6 plants. The tax revenue from the sale of regulated cannabis products would go to the Department of Corrections, student loan forgiveness, and housing. This bill would also allow for automatic expungement of certain marijuana related offences.
Our take on this bill is that we know that it is in its infancy and representative Wheatley understands that it may go through significant changes. We encourage language that would allow small “mom and pop” type businesses to have the opportunity to win a license through a tiered licensing system. We are concerned that as written, HB50 will favor large out of state cannabis corporations as we saw with Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law.
SB350 is an adult use legalization bill. The prime sponsors are Senator Street and Senator Leach.
This bill is a companion bill to HB 50. This bill will not cap the number of licenses and will allow for a tiered licensing system. It would include home grow and restorative justice, including automatic expungements. The bill will also create a system of licensing and taxing.
Our take is that a bill with home grow, no caps on license numbers, and restorative justice are all points we generally support.
Senator Street recently introduced a cannabis banking commission bill as well that has bipartisan support. We generally support increased access to financial institutions for cannabis businesses.
HB 132 is a statewide decriminalization bill for small amounts of marijuana. Its prime sponsor is representative Jozwiak.
It would reduce the penalty for possessing a small amount, 30 grams or less, from a misdemeanor to a summary offense for the 1st 2 convictions. The bill would escalate to a misdemeanor upon the 3rd and subsequent conviction. The bill would have an escalating fine of up to $300.00 for 1st or 2nd offenses, $1000 for 3rd.
Minors would be charged with misdemeanors under this bill. Originally, this bill would also try to reinstate license suspensions for 3rd or subsequent convictions. Due to recent case law however, this may not be allowed to occur.
Representative Jozwiak’s bill was voted out of the Judiciary Committee last session and will likely be the only decriminalization build that the Judiciary Committee will consider. Our take is that we object to escalating to a misdemeanor. The penalty is WORSE than existing law, higher fines and longer potential sentences are unacceptable. We support eliminating the escalation provision at the very least.
SB233 is a decriminalization bill for small amounts of marijuana. Its prime sponsor is Senator Street.
This bill would reduce the penalty for possessing a small amount, 30 grams or less/8 grams or less of hashish, from a misdemeanor to a summary offense, like the ordinances in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and several other locations across PA.
There would be a $25 fine for possession and a $100 fine for the consumption of cannabis in “a public place”.
Our take is that we like this decriminalization bill. Unlike the house version, the fines are low and consistent with decriminalization ordinances currently used in 6+ cities across the state. It does not escalate to a misdemeanor.