Not long ago, I wrote a letter to the editor predicting that marijuana would be legalized for recreational use by the time governor Tom Wolf left office. My reasoning is that anything deemed illegal by the state could be made legal if the state benefits financially.
Time for an update.
Two senators, Sharif Street from Philadelphia and Daylin Leach from Montgomery County, both Democrats, have crafted legislation that many have referred to as the gold standard for the legalization of marijuana. Senate Bill 350, if passed, would govern the use of marijuana by residents of Pennsylvania.
The term permit in the bill is used more times than a chicken has feathers. According to the bill, the annual permit for homegrowers would be $50. Microgrowers is $250. Dispensaries would be $5000. Bigger growers $10,000. Processors $1,000. Delivery service $50 and a permit for bring-your-own-weed (BYOW) lounges would cost $1,000.
Here is the kicker. The tax would be set at 17.5%. Recently, Lt. Governor John Fetterman held marijuana listening tours throughout the state. He stated most people supported the idea of legalization. The results of this tour are readily available online just type in Lieutenant Governor Fetterman.
Statewide 68% are for legalization and 25% against with 7% undecided. A total of 10,275 responded during the tour. Also county results are available. In Fayette County 57% are for legalization 40% against with 3% undecided. A total of 125 responded during the tour.
Lets look at the results from a statistical perspective. According to the website World Population Review, Pennsylvania estimated 2019 population is 12,813.969 with 10,275 responding during the tour and the Fayette County estimated 2019 population is 131,427 with 125 responding during the tour. The results of the listening tour should not be used to gauge public opinion because of a too small sample size . If SB 350 passes as written, the state will again legalize what is now illegal so as to benefit itself. Add together the cost of permits and a tax of 17.5%, the decision to roll a joint will be costly. Ask yourself this question, what would Cheech and Chong do?
Ed Zadylak is a resident of Connellsville