Co-prime sponsor of legislation to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania, state Senator Sharif Street of Philadelphia last week formally launched an exploratory committee to run for the United States Senate in 2022.
At his launch, the Democrat unveiled broad support for his candidacy.
Of course he has company among other Pennsylvania elected officials interested in the seat occupied by retiring U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA.), including Lt. Governor John Fetterman.
Fetterman also backs cannabis legalization, but Street notes that he has championed the issue longer.
“I want to thank the lieutenant governor for being a big supporter of my legislation,” the state senator told InsiderNJ on a Zoom call this morning. “I first introduced cannabis legislation before he was lieutenant governor but when he got there he jumped onboard and has been a big supporter of my legislation. I thank him for jumping onboard and trying to be helpful.”
Fetterman has used his perch to try to expedite a process by which those convicted of nonviolent marijuana crimes can apply to be pardoned.
“I’ve been a supporter of expanded use of the pardons’ process but it is slow and cumbersome and understaffed,” said Street, who in the interview made a pragmatic case for cannabis legalization through legislative channels.
Governor Tom Wolfe has already said he would sign cannabis legalization into law.
The InsiderNJ interview included Street’s plan to get his bill to the governor’s desk, consideration of the details, including a social justice component, a constitutional amendment to dedicate cannabis revenues, parental notification, expungement versus sealing the records of past marijuana transgressors, how legalization fits into Street’s statewide jobs and economic program, and his thoughts on making cannabis legal in all 50 states.
Pragmaticism is the key word, argued the senator.
“There will be reductions in the size of government in our criminal justice system alone because we will not have to process so many people convicted of cannabis crimes,” said the senator. “The key is finding sources of revenue that do not take money out of regular people’s pockets. This would generate $600 million to a billion dollars. That goes a long way to not having to raise people’s taxes.”
Below, please find the (FULL!) interview with Senator Street: