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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Wants To See State Start Process To Legalize Adult-Use Of Marijuana In 2021

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf wants to see the commonwealth begin the process to legalize adult-use of marijuana in 2021. Wolf posted on Twitter Wednesday morning calling for the legalization of marijuana.

He says the profits would be used to help the state recover from COVID-19.

"I want to see Pennsylvania begin the process to legalize adult-use marijuana this year," Wolf tweeted. "The profits from this measure would be used to help us recover from COVID."

Wolf initially asked lawmakers to send him a bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults last August.

"With the extra funding from recreational marijuana legalization, we could actually do things that have to be done," Wolf said.

Wolf says legalizing recreational marijuana would help fund some $90 million in grants and loans for small businesses. Some Republicans have said they would support a bill, including state Sen. Tom Killion, of Delaware County.

"We've been looking at the criminal justice issues in a bipartisan way," Killion said.

But Killion would like to see certain stipulations, like expunging the records of those who were previously convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

"Because of that, it's greatly affected their lives. There should be some expungement process," Killion said.

Wolf also wants to direct some of the tax revenues from the sale of recreational weed to a program that would repair what he called a release of "the harm done to crime victims and communities as a result of marijuana criminalization."

About half the proposed weed tax would go to help historically disadvantaged businesses, which are those more than half owned and operated by people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander — groups deemed to have traditionally been discriminated against in financial dealings.

Wolf signed legislation authorizing the state's medical marijuana program in 2016, and last fall announced he also supported making the drug legal for recreational purposes. Pennsylvania law treats possession of any marijuana outside the medical marijuana program as a crime, although there is a diversion program for first-time, nonviolent offenders and a few municipalities have enacted what is effectively decriminalization of possession of very small amounts.

Wolf said he hoped there would be support for legalization for those at least 21 years old within the GOP-dominated Legislature.

"I think we've had a little more time to see what's happened in places like Colorado with revenues, for example, that this might be one way to plug a hole," Wolf said last August.

The governor wants residents to reach out to their local legislation and let them know they want to see the commonwealth keep up with other states and legalize the adult-use of marijuana.

To find who your local legislation is, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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