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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 5, 2021 02:59 PM
From: Representative Amen Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Comprehensive Cannabis Reform
In the coming days, I intend to introduce a bill legalizing adult use cannabis and comprehensively reforming how all issues relating to cannabis are treated under Pennsylvania law.

While all Pennsylvanians have been acquiring and using cannabis at roughly equivalent rates for decades, the impacts of enforcing drug laws against non-violent offenders for possessing small amounts of cannabis have been disproportionately felt by people and communities of color.   Over the course of generations, this disproportionate enforcement has eliminated opportunities that would have otherwise been available to a shocking number of Pennsylvanians, including access to employment and housing, which has destroyed lives, families, and entire communities.  

In short, by enforcing and continuing to enforce drug laws prohibiting possession of small amounts of cannabis, we are clogging our court dockets, overcrowding our prisons, and holding down individuals and communities in most need of support, opportunity, and investment.

This situation cannot stand in a fair society, and I will not stand for it.  And, to my colleagues on both sides, it is on us to implement policy that is sound and reformative – undoing unjust policy that has negatively impacted Pennsylvanians far too long.

We must take a practical, expeditious approach to ending the serious inequities that cannabis prohibitions created.  My bill, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, will address all cannabis-related matters in the Commonwealth. Specifically will incorporate a novel social equity and investment platform designed to elevate the individuals and communities hardest hit by disproportionate enforcement of low-level cannabis possession laws by making a suite of opportunities available to qualified individuals and ensuring new businesses owned by qualified individuals have all the tools, training, and capital necessary to succeed over the long term.

My bill will also create thousands of family-sustaining jobs, bring billions of dollars in capital investment, create a new revenue stream for the Commonwealth that can be used to invest in social programs, and reduce crime. Simultaneously, my bill will enhance public safety by incorporating consumer protections, currently non-existent in the illicit cannabis market, and curbing that illicit market which is thriving and preying on vulnerable populations and our youth.

Legalizing and regulating cannabis is simply the right thing to do – ensuring that an equity lens is applied and that injustices caused by enforcement of drug laws are redressed.  It is right for my constituents.  It is right for the economy.  It is right for the Commonwealth.  Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.