Published May 10. 2022 02:45PM
Jim Thorpe Borough Council will decide this week whether or not to support a resolution backing the decriminalization of recreational marijuana.
Council briefly discussed the resolution at its workshop Thursday after it was sent the document by Abbottstown, a south-central Pennsylvania municipality pushing the issue at the state level.
“I’ll tell you right now I’ll support it if the borough is able to get the tax revenue from it and can use that money for enforcement and to fund projects in the borough,” Mayor Michael Sofranko said. “We were supposed to see all of this tax revenue from gambling, too. The municipalities usually get the short end of the stick on these types of things.”
Eighteen states have thus far legalized adult recreational use of cannabis including neighboring New York and New Jersey.
“I think marijuana should be decriminalized and I hope more municipalities reach out to request this so it happens sooner than later,” Jim Thorpe Councilwoman Jessica Crowley said.
Sen. Dan Laughlin, an Erie County Republican, introduced a bill last year that calls for adults 21 and older to be able to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and allows medical patients to grow up to five plants at home for personal use. The legislation also bans marketing toward children and provides workplace and intoxication rules. Anyone with a prior nonviolent cannabis conviction would have his or her record expunged.
“I think it is coming,” Police Chief Joe Schatz said. “There would still be enforcement. Everyone kind of thinks if this passes you’ll be able to use marijuana wherever you want and that isn’t the case. There will be guidelines when the time comes and our officers will go through all of that training when it happens.”
According to a Marijuana Policy Project report released in April, states that have legalized recreational marijuana sales generated more than $3.7 billion in tax revenue in 2021.
“The states that have done this so far have done it pretty clearly for the revenue,” Councilman Mike Rivkin said.
“So, like the mayor said, I think the fair question for us is how do we get a piece of that pie.”