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June 15, 2016

Philly lawmaker begins push to legalize recreational marijuana in Pa.

State Rep. Harris looking for co-sponsors

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, has started his search for co-sponsors to potential legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.

In a memo to House members sent earlier in June, Harris announced his plan to introduce a bill that would allow the drug to be sold at state liquor stores.

"During this difficult budget time, we are desperately trying to balance the budget by fixing our structural deficit, in addition to making critical investments in education and other essential programs," Harris wrote in the memo.

"I believe my legislation could provide the much-needed tax revenue to help with our funding issues."

In April, PhillyVoice first reported Harris' intentions to introduce recreational marijuana legislation.

Harris explained then how the state was "leaving money on the table" by not legalizing the drug and noted how states like Colorado and Washington that have done so have brought in millions in revenue.

He also explained his plan to sell the drug at state liquor stores — an idea supported by Wendell Young IV, president of UFCW, the union that represents workers at state stores — to avoid additional infrastructure costs.

His push comes on the heels of the state legalizing medical marijuana for patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions.