HARRISBURG — Lt. Gov. John Fetterman launched his 67-county listening tour Monday night to hear what Pennsylvanians have to say about legalizing marijuana.
If the first event is any indication, he’s going to get an earful.
Well over 100 people attended the event, and the majority of speakers said they support legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes by adults.
Proponents said legalizing the drug would eliminate the prosecution of minor drug possession that can leave marijuana users with hefty court costs. Proponents also touted the benefits of medical marijuana and said legalizing the drug more broadly would allow other Pennsylvanians with other health problems, not now covered by the state’s medical marijuana law, to seek relief with the drug. Some who spoke in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use added that the state should use tax revenue from recreational marijuana to subsidize the cost of medical marijuana to make it more affordable for those who need it for health reasons.
Opponents said the state shouldn’t move to legalize the drug for potential tax revenue when it’s not clear that important policy issues, related to regulating the industry, have been figured out.
Pennsylvania is one of 33 states that allow marijuana to be used for medical reasons. Ten states have legalized recreational use of the drug — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Proposals to legalize recreational marijuana are expected to move in the state capitols and in New York and New Jersey, soon, as well. That was a trend Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf noted in suggesting it’s time for Pennsylvania to examine the issue.
While Wolf is now in his second term, Fetterman was just elected lieutenant governor in November after beating Mike Stack in the May primary.