Cannabis: Governor Wolf calls on PA Legislature to pass a Recreational Cannabis Bill; $1B of CARES relief

Earlier today, August 25, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana and use the tax revenue to help small businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Gov. Wolf’s proposal on recreational marijuana was part of a package unveiled to spend the $1 billion remaining out of $3.6 billion CARES Act funding. The Governor called for a range of spending that would include $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and another $100 million for restaurants and bars, hospitality and leisure businesses that have taken a big hit since March with business closures and occupancy restrictions.

Tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana would add to the state’s small business funding and half would go to historically disadvantaged businesses.

While the recreational marijuana legalization was NOT tied to CARES Act funding, Gov. Wolf in the news conference said legalization would add even more money to the programs that Pennsylvania residents and businesses would need to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 hit to the economy.

His proposals for the remaining CARES Act funding would also include paid family and sick leave for all Pennsylvanians while announcing six weeks for all state employees; $225 million more in hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million to help employers pay for the cost of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies; and $250 million more in child care investments.

Governor Wolf also wants the alcohol tax to be canceled or reduced for 6 months and also allow bars, restaurants and other hospitality industries to buy alcohol at cost for six months.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. We also have a Cannabis Practice Group that in active in the cannabis regulatory, licensing, IP, real estate and fund raising aspects of the cannabis industry. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Tracy A. Gallegos, Paul Josephson, Seth Goldberg, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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