With the 2022 midterms in the rearview mirror, Meredith Buettner is feeling a “healthy amount of pressure” to help bring recreational cannabis to Pennsylvania.
“With the addition of Maryland, we’re surrounded on three sides — New York, New Jersey and Maryland,” says Buettner, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, a trade group that represents about 75% of licensed cannabis businesses within the commonwealth. “More than 50% of our population is now going to live within a half-hour drive of one of those states.”
To be clear, the pressure to legalize cannabis never disappeared, but Buettner and other advocates were in a stalemate with legislators in prior years. She hoped the recent midterms would see more cannabis-friendly politicians elected in Pennsylvania, but many business owners are worried about the future of their program as Maryland makes the change to adult-use. Pennsylvania not only stands to lose potential revenue and jobs, but also the jobs and investments businesses have already made in the commonwealth, Buettner says.
“There’s a consensus within our organization and within the greater cannabis community that regardless of what the makeup of the House ends up being that we should plan to be aggressive during this next session to get something done,” Buettner says.