Now that Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has formally introduced a budget that contains specifics for taxing adult-use cannabis, state lawmakers are beginning to examine different options on how a recreational market could be structured. That includes potentially letting state-run liquor stores sell marijuana instead of giving first crack at the market to existing medical marijuana companies.
A bill to do just that has been introduced for the third time by state Rep. David Delloso, who wants the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and its chain of Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores to be the only retailers allowed to sell recreational cannabis, CBS reported.
Delloso argued his bill would bring in “hundreds of millions” in tax revenue to the state, CBS reported, but many marijuana advocates don’t like the idea.
The lawmaker argued in a memo last month that “permitting private companies to sell cannabis in Pennsylvania could allow large corporations to take over the cannabis industry, putting profits before the well-being of our communities,” Marijuana Moment reported.
Plenty of other stakeholders aren’t fond of that idea, however.
“The state store model just seems poorly designed to accomplish” competitive pricing on cannabis products for consumers, a spokesman for NORML told CBS.
There are several bills already pending in the Pennsylvania Legislature that would legalize recreational marijuana, however, and another lawmaker told CBS that if legalization does happen this year, the final bill will likely be a compromise mish-mash of several bills.
“I don’t think any of the bills that are out there right now are going to be the final legislation,” Rep. Dan Frankel told CBS.
There’s plenty of political momentum behind legalization in Pennsylvania – although the GOP-dominated state Senate remains a hurdle – and Shapiro’s budget is another talking point that has to be negotiated, since it calls for a 20% tax on recreational cannabis, which some are already criticizing as far too high.