Bipartisan Effort from Senators to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use in Pennsylvania

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Recent activity in the Senate focuses on both recreational and medical cannabis regulations and reforms.

On Thursday, July 6th, 2023, five senators in Pennsylvania introduced Senate Bill 846, which aims to legalize cannabis in the state and outlines the requirements for doing so (1). The bill addressed topics such as establishing a Cannabis Regulatory Control Board and Cannabis Development Fund, social and economic equity, laboratory testing, medical cannabis, taxes, and penalties (2). One main change the bill would allow is the possibility of expungement of records for some past cannabis offenses (1).

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity,” said Senator Dan Laughlin. “With neighboring states New Jersey and New York implementing adult use, we have a duty to Pennsylvania taxpayers to legalize adult-use marijuana to avoid losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue and thousands of new jobs.”


The bill is now waiting on action from the Law and Justice Committee (1).

On July 11th, a Senate committee approved three bills that would improve patient access to medical cannabis by allowing doctors to recommend cannabis at their discretion, by removing the expiration date on medical cannabis cards, plus several other reforms (3). Medical cannabis was legalized in the state in 2016 and became available at dispensaries in 2018 (4).


  1. Myers, M. Bipartisan bill aims to green-light recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania (accessed Jul 11, 2023).
  2. Bill Information - senate Bill 846; regular session 2023-2024 (accessed Jul 11, 2023).
  3. Herrington, A. J. Pennsylvania Senate Panel Advances Medical Cannabis Reform Bills (accessed Jul 11, 2023).
  4. Getting medical marijuana in Pennsylvania,patients%20with%20serious%20medical%20conditions (accessed Jul 11, 2023).