Former U.S. Marshal, Pennsylvania State Sen. Mike Regan Pushes Adult-Use Legalization

Pennsylvania state Sen. Mike Regan is a fiscal conservative with a law enforcement background of fighting crime and protecting families.

The Republican serving Cumberland and York counties is now adding legalization advocate to his track record. Regan, who chairs the Law and Justice Committee, is seeking co-sponsorship for his intent to introduce legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis in the commonwealth.

In an Oct. 4 op-ed, Regan said it may come to the consternation of some that he’s circulating a co-sponsorship memo for his legalization bill, specifically stating his 23-year background in law enforcement. But the former U.S. Marshal called adult-use legalization inevitable.

“For decades, marijuana has been used by adult residents in the state, but such use has financially benefitted and perpetuated organized crime, gangs and cartels,” Regan said in the statement.

Prior to his political endeavors—which includes serving two terms in the Pennsylvania House, before getting elected to the state Senate in 2016—Regan began his law enforcement career in 1988 as a member of the U.S. Marshals Service and ascended to the post of Fugitive Task Force Commander in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush nominated him to become the U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where he served until his 2011 retirement. 

Although Regan’s sponsorship of an adult-use measure may come as a surprise to some, he took on medical cannabis reform efforts and voted in favor of establishing a medical cannabis program when he served in the Pennsylvania House.

“Recent years have also brought proven benefits of marijuana for health purposes, which has opened the door for legalization of adult-use marijuana,” he said. “In 2016, as a member of the House of Representatives, I was one of the architects of our medical marijuana program, and since its inception, we have seen over 500,000 residents enroll in the program. The lives of so many have changed with the safe use of medical marijuana.

“I want to build off the success of that program while ensuring its continued viability for the industry and its patients. I also want to make sure that Pennsylvanians receive their fair share from the sale of adult-use marijuana, not the cartels and gangs whose profits are comparable to Fortune 500 companies.”

With New Jersey and New York geared toward implementing adult-use cannabis programs (and Ohio advocates also making the push), Regan said those states will soon experience what he calls “border bleed” with Pennsylvanians contributing to the tax base of their neighbors to help pay for their roads and bridges.

Meanwhile, similarly populated states like Illinois and Michigan are on pace to exceed $1 billion in taxable adult-use sales in 2021.

“My legislation will direct revenues to cities fighting violent crimes, organizations providing after-school programs for youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and law enforcement for the necessary equipment, training and education, so they can truly serve and protect residents and focus on combatting the illegal drug trade that is responsible for so

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