Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition Raises Lobbying Spending Amid Legalization Talks

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The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, whose members include medical cannabis license holders in the state such as Green Thumb Industries, PharmaCann, Cresco Labs, and Vireo Health, stepped up its lobbying spending this year as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman push for adult use cannabis legalization in the state. 

The coalition, which says on its site that its mission is to “preserve Pennsylvania’s emerging medical marijuana market,” spent $51,996 lobbying on “health care” in the third quarter—a 166 percent increase from the same time last year, according to lobbying disclosures. 

Pennsylvania legalized medical cannabis in 2016 and sales went live in 2018. Wolf and Fetterman called for adult-use legalization in September this year following Fetterman’s months-long listening tour across Pennsylvania to get public input on the subject. They also  announced an expedited pardons review process for certain cannabis-related convictions. Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro endorsed adult-use legalization following Wolf and Fetterman’s announcement. Wolf also attended a cannabis summit this month hosted by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss a “regional approach” to legalization and vaping policies across Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Representative Jake Wheatley introduced H.B. 50, a bill that would amend the state’s medical cannabis Act to include adult-use cannabis. And two weeks ago, state Senators Daylin Leach and Sharif Street announced a social and criminal justice focused legalization bill, S.B. 350, which allows existing medical cannabis dispensaries to sell adult-use cannabis, and also provides for home cultivation.

(Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of Pennsylvania’s push to legalize and of the cannabis summit hosted by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo here and here.)

Cresco Labs and PharmaCann lobbied separately from the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, as well. Cresco Labs spent $22,500 lobbying on “pharmaceuticals” in the third quarter—double the amount it spent the previous quarter—while PharmaCann spent $15,000 lobbying on “government,” the same as all previous quarters in 2019. Other big names that lobbied in Pennsylvania this year include Curaleaf, Harvest Health and Recreation, and Canopy Growth. Curaleaf and Harvest Health and Recreation (lobbying under the name Harvest, Inc.)—both of whom hold medical cannabis licenses in Pennsylvania—lobbied on “medical marijuana” and “medical cannabis” respectively. And as Cannabis Wire previously reported, Canopy Growth lobbied in Pennsylvania in the second quarter of this year on “agriculture.”

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