Will PA legalize weed? It depends on the Senate. · Spotlight PAPosted by On

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HARRISBURG — In his state budget pitch, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro called for the Pennsylvania legislature to legalize recreational marijuana.

Shapiro is not breaking new ground. His predecessor, Democrat Tom Wolf, came out in support of legalization in 2019 and unsuccessfully pushed for it in his final years in office.

But while Wolf faced a completely Republican-controlled legislature, Shapiro has the benefit of a Democratic-led state House.

And it appears attitudes in the still GOP-dominated state Senate are shifting. The state senator who controls a key committee supports legalization, and the lawmaker in charge of setting the chamber’s agenda has expressed a willingness to explore the topic despite his belief that Pennsylvania should wait for the federal government to act.

“The real question is: What are the details of how he sees that [proceeding]?” state Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R., Indiana) said of Shapiro’s pitch at a news conference in February.

Shapiro’s call kicks off what will be a heavily lobbied debate with a lot at stake — for the state’s coffers, for people who want to take part in a potentially multibillion-dollar industry, and for tens of thousands of marijuana users, many of whom have suffered legal…

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