Could Pennsylvania Regulate Cannabis Like Alcohol?

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Legalizing recreational and even medical cannabis is a process that seems to strain the capabilities of state governments. For one reason or another, most states have struggled to create and implement a working regulatory framework and rollout both medical and recreational cannabis legalization. Even in states that have managed to hit their own deadlines, many issues and hiccups have occurred.

In part, these issues result from the insistence of lawmakers on treating cannabis like a product that needs intense regulation, instead of like a plant. Products that pose a more direct risk of medical harm, like caffeine and aspirin, are available for purchase without any protective framework, while cannabis requires whole new departments of state government.

Now, state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are looking at what may be the most common-sense regulatory system so far proposed for state legalization measures. Following the indication of the governor he would support legalization, state representative David Delloso put forth a proposed bill, House Bill 1899, that would legalize recreational cannabis sale in Pennsylvania.

What makes this bill feel different than many other domestic legalization attempt is that it amends an existing law that helps regulate the sale of alcohol throughout the state. The bill would expand the law to include cannabis, meaning that existing liquor stores would become the dispensaries in Pennsylvania.

Much like with alcohol, the age for legal access for cannabis in Pennsylvania would be 21. The bill as proposed would not allow for home growing operations and would result in a tax of 19% on retail sales. Beyond that, the proposed bill would also create a state system for regulating industrial hemp.

As of Friday, the bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.

For previous Ladybud articles that discuss alcohol, click here.