Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called on the State Legislature on Tuesday to legalize recreational marijuana to help pay for coronavirus relief efforts.
In a six-tweet thread laying out his fall legislative agenda, Wolf wrote in part, “I’m calling on the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana.” He explained that the revenue from the drug sales would go to “small business grant funding” and “restorative justice programs.”
“At the same time, we must pursue policies that restore justice for individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses,” he added.
I'm calling on the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana, with the revenue going to:
🔹 Small business grant funding
🔹 Restorative justice programs
At the same time, we must pursue policies that restore justice for individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) August 25, 2020
“The governor is calling on the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana with the proceeds going to existing small business grant funding,” read a Tuesday press release from the governor’s office, which continued:
Fifty percent of the funding would be earmarked for historically disadvantaged businesses. Along with the call to the General Assembly to pass legislation legalizing the sale and use of recreational marijuana, the governor proposes that a portion of the revenue be used to further restorative justice programs that give priority to repairing the harm done to crime victims and communities as a result of marijuana criminalization.
Also, the governor wants the General Assembly to pursue criminal justice reform policies that restore justice for individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses.
Wolf and his administration have taken flak for their response to the coronavirus. As The Daily Wire reported, a class-action lawsuit alleged in May that the Pennsylvania state government violated constitutional rights when it issued waivers to “life-sustaining” businesses:
The process was not transparent, and resulted in some businesses within the same industry getting different treatment. As Spotlight PA reported earlier this month, one photographer was granted a waiver while another was denied. A notary was granted a waiver but had it revoked without explanation the night before a list of waiver recipients was publicly posted. A trucking company that had been denied a waiver was suddenly granted one without explanation at the same time.
Wolf’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, has also come under scrutiny for pulling her mother out of a nursing home as deaths piled up in long-term care facilities across the state. Levine has become a flashpoint in the state’s fight against the coronavirus.
Most recently, a report from local Pittsburgh outlet WPXI uncovered legal documents indicating that Levine made a confidential agreement with a car show near Harrisburg that allowed them to skirt the state’s limit on outdoor gatherings. State lawmakers described the agreement as “outrageous,” “ridiculous,” and “not fair.”
Levine also defended Wolf’s apparent hypocrisy in June after he marched in solidarity with protesters following George Floyd’s death. As the Daily Wire reported:
Regarding why the governor and protesters were seemingly given a pass, Levine said, “The governor has always said that people have the right to protest, and to demonstrate, and the right to free speech, and so overall, we want large gatherings such as maybe a party or some type of concert or something, to be under 250 people.”
“But, we are not restricting people’s right to protest,” Levine added. “There are all obviously significant social issues that are present, that people feel that they need to have a voice, and so the governor is always supportive of that and is participating.”
PA Health Sec. won’t allow the state to reopen or people to gather – and the Gov. who said businesses that disobey are cowards as he marches in protests himself – actually tries to legitimize limitless protests in the street while standing by restrictions. pic.twitter.com/4jKwJGBtpG
— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) June 3, 2020