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Black Pennsylvania Lawmakers Lay Out Marijuana Legalization Framework Emphasizing Equity

As Pennsylvania lawmakers work to advance marijuana legalization, the state’s Legislative Black Caucus has laid out a framework with specific policy priorities they want to see incorporated, including automatic expungements for past cannabis convictions and the creation of a social equity fund.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, members of the caucus discussed their desire to see Pennsylvania enact adult-use legalization—but emphasizing the need to do so in a way that uplifts communities that have been disproportionately impacted by criminalization.

“We, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, want to state publicly what we have long argued privately: It is time that we invest in the restoration of communities that have been impacted,” Rep. Napoleon Nelson (D), chair of the caucus, said. “So many stakeholders and lawmakers and other states have already affirmed these moral imperatives, and we are convinced that Pennsylvania will do the same.”

While he acknowledged that it will be a complex legislative progress to develop comprehensive legalization legislation, he said there are certain criminal justice provisions that must be integrated before launching the adult-use market. To that end, the caucus is putting forward a framework focused on the criminal justice and social equity components of marijuana reform.


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