Debate over recreational marijuana reignites in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The debate over legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania is reigniting, with Gov. Josh Shapiro and many Democratic lawmakers hoping for it in this year’s budget, despite major pushback from Republicans.

“This is absolutely an issue of families, and it’s an issue of our youth and the next generation,” Franklin County Republican Representative Rob Kauffman said. “The legalization of recreational marijuana is a social experiment that will endanger the next generation of Pennsylvanians and the Commonwealth can absolutely not afford it.”

Gov. Shapiro and House Democrats argue that Pennsylvania is losing out on millions in revenue from legalized pot.

“Our failure to legalize and regulate this only fuels the black market and drains much needed resources for law enforcement,” Shapiro said at his February budget address.

Lawmakers, like Democratic Representative Rich Krajewski, believe Pennsylvania is missing out on millions of dollars in revenue. He argues the Commonwealth should legalize and regulate the drug to minimize potential harm to users.

“We can have regulations around labeling, correct dosage amounts, testing what’s actually in [the] cannabis,” Krajewski said.

He also argues that legalizing the drug can give thousands of Pennsylvanians with a criminal record a second chance.

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