Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fetterman to Lead Forums across State on Marijuana

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fetterman to Lead Forums across State on Marijuana

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Thursday announced plans to hold a forum in every county in the state to gauge public opinion on legalizing recreational marijuana.

"We don't have a pre-arrived-at conclusion," Mr. Fetterman said at a news conference in the governor's reception room. "We are going to engage with as many Pennsylvanians as we can to hear what they have to say about this very important topic."

The tour comes at a time when an increasing number of states are either legalizing various forms of marijuana - 10 states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use - or are inching toward such measures. Some have cited the potential to tax it and bring in extra money, while others have touted it as a way to chip away at mass incarceration.

Polls conducted by Franklin & Marshall College show the percentage of Pennsylvania voters who support legalizing marijuana has more than doubled in recent years - jumping from 22 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2017.

Still, legalization would be a tough sell in the Republican-controlled Legislature, where some have already expressed emphatic opposition.

Mr. Fetterman was joined Thursday by Gov. Tom Wolf, who is not expected to participate in the so-called listening tour himself but expressed support for it. While Mr. Fetterman has long advocated for legalizing recreational marijuana, Mr. Wolf said as recently as this past summer that he did not think Pennsylvania citizens "are ready for it."

Mr. Wolf tweeted in December that he believed it was time to "take a serious and honest look" at legalizing recreational use. The governor, a Democrat, said Thursday that developments in neighboring New York and New Jersey have convinced him that, "We need to keep our eyes open constantly."

The listening tour comes almost three years after the state passed a law authorizing the use of medical marijuana to treat some ailments. …

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