3 PA Officials Will Discuss Social & Economic Benefits Of Cannabis Legalization At Cannabis Learn Conference & Expo
PENNSYLVANIA: Greenhouse Ventures, a Philadelphia-based business accelerator, will host the three-day Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo featuring keynote presentations from Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, and Philadelphia’s Mayor, Jim Kenney on the economic benefits and savings from cannabis legalization.
In 2014, due to the work of then Councilmen, now Mayor, Jim Kenney, Philadelphia became the largest city to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis possession. Three years after implementing decriminalization the city of Philadelphia saw a 75% decrease in cannabis arrests, dropping for 12,000 (from the previous three years) to 2,900 (the three years after).
“As a member of City Council, I was proud to pass legislation that decriminalized small quantities of marijuana. In the years since, we’ve seen a significant decrease in arrests for this. As a result, fewer people have entered our criminal justice system for possession than they did previously. I am looking forward to discussing our progress at this conference.” said Mayor Kenney.
In 2017 the ACLU of Pennsylvania released a study that found despite decriminalization inside Philadelphia, across the rest of the state there was a 33% increase in adults arrested from possession between 2010-2016.
Pennsylvania Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, calls the state’s approach to dealing with cannabis nonsense. In 2016 the commonwealth’s general fund was down $1.6 billion, and another $600,000 deficit was expected heading into Fiscal Year 2018. DePasquale said in a conservative estimate, full legalization could provide at least $300 million in tax revenue a year.
“I think it is appropriate to regulate and tax marijuana in Pennsylvania because if we do this right we can actually reduce teen access, grow our economy, reduce opioid addiction and bring in critical revenue so that we don’t have to raise taxes,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. “Pennsylvania could bring in, conservatively, about $300 million in revenue annually from regulating and taxing marijuana. It will also stimulate business and job growth in every region of the state.”
This estimate was made based on the cannabis industry operating strictly in all cash, as the industry is still largely shunned from banks. In effort to remove on of the industry’s most crippling problem, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, along with several other state Treasurers wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions a letter, requesting a meeting to receive clarity of the federal administration’s stance on cannabis legalization.
“All across the country—including right here in Pennsylvania—states are evaluating the use and legal status of cannabis products and making policy decisions based on our needs, not Beltway politics. In a state like PA—which has passed legislation allowing for medicinal use of these products and affecting their legal and tax status, growers and distributors need access to basic structures of the economy like secure banking services. I’m glad to participate in the Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo, and to discuss and help navigate these important issues.” said Torsella.
With three days of workshops and advanced programming for business owners, ancillary professionals, and operators working in the cannabis industry, the Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo will provide a forum for subject matter experts, policy makers, and cultural influencers to connect and share insights with those working in the day-to-day industry. Following PA’a Department of Health (DOH) announcement regarding phase two of the medical cannabis program, and the “Chapter 20 clinical registrant” license guidelines, the Cannabis Learn Conference aims to provide a stage for an in-depth discussion on the state of the PA medical cannabis program, while examining the social impact and economic benefits that cannabis legalization could have within Pennsylvania and the tri-state area.
“A regulated and prosperous cannabis market can’t exist in Pennsylvania without support from credible influencers in Harrisburg and large cities like Philadelphia.” said Kevin Provost, CEO of Greenhouse Ventures – the Philadelphia-based organization hosting the Cannabis Learn Conference. “Mayor Kenney, Joe Torsella, and Eugene DePasquale have been publicly supportive of the cannabis industry to date, and we felt it necessary to bring the cannabis industry influencers from around the country to work more closely with leading politicians, health care professionals, universities, and economic development organizations here in Pennsylvania – that’s what this conference is all about”.
The Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo is taking place April 30th – May 2nd at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia as part of Philly Tech Week – Sponsored by Comcast. The conference is being hosted by Greenhouse Ventures, a business accelerator and program development organization specific for ancillary startups in the medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries.