By Chadwick Dolgos
Danny DeVito, Republican candidate for state representative in Pennsylvania’s 45th district, becomes the first GOP candidate in Pennsylvania to endorse the legalisation of recreational marijuana.
On Sept. 11, DeVito released an agenda titled “DeVito’s Twenty Points” that will serve as his campaign platform. The platform illustrates his positions on subjects including abortion, criminal justice reform, student debt relief and marijuana legalization.
“I am happy to be the first Republican candidate in Pennsylvania to support the full legalization of cannabis,” he said. Recognizing that the state's Republican lawmakers have historically remained immobile on marijuana legalization, he encourages other Republicans to join his efforts.
DeVito argues that marijuana should be legalized for adults and available for commercial sale in Pennsylvania. “Cannabis had a long history in the United States prior to criminalization and has a host of benefits,” he said in his statement.
In an effort to create jobs, the statement calls for all marijuana sold commercially in the state to be grown in state. Unlike liquor stores, which are publicly owned by the state, DeVito advocates for marijuana sales to be owned privately. “I will oppose leftist attempts to control marijuana through a state store system,” he said in his statement.
At the end of August, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the state legislator to reconsider legislation that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state. His plan is in an effort to recover the state’s economy after months of shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the $1.3 billion the state has left in federal coronavirus relief, Wolf said he hopes the revenues generated from marijuana sales will fund small businesses impacted by the pandemic and restorative justice programs.
DeVito would like to see the tax revenues generated from recreational marijuana sales go toward property tax relief and relief for small business owners in the area. His plan would also vacate previous convictions for cannabis possession alone.
“We will end the big government, intrusive state policy of prohibition,” said DeVito.