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Gov. Tom Wolf Advocates Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

by Maria Martin

On Sept. 25, Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman held a press conference to announce the results of Fetterman’s statewide listening tour, which sought to gather opinions on the legalization of recreational marijuana from all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Wolf released a statement regarding the conference.

“We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” he said.

Following the report, Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman suggested three calls to action to facilitate a possible legislature change.

First, they are asking the legislature to get a bill to the Gov.’s desk that decriminalizes non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses.

Secondly, Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman are seeking a path to restorative justice through the expungement of past convictions of non-violent and small cannabis-related crimes.

Thirdly, they are calling on the General Assembly to debate and consider the legalization of recreational marijuana use among adults over age 21.

If Pennsylvania were to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, it would join 11 other states and Washington D.C. that have already legalized recreational cannabis.

Cannabis for medical use became legal in Pennsylvania in 2016.

According to Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s listening tour report, 68 percent of respondents support recreational marijuana legalization.

“If you oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana, you are in the minority in Pennsylvania,” Lt. Gov. Fetterman said.

Gov. Wolf’s push for legalization has been met with backlash from  Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. In a news release, they expressed that “[they are] disappointed and frustrated [that] Gov. Wolf would promote recreational use of a drug classified as a Schedule I narcotic by the federal government.”

Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman have expressed that, if legislation were to be passed, recreational marijuana would be treated much like alcohol and would likely include restrictions on the amount of consumption.

There is no definite date for when such legalization could occur.

“I said in the past that I didn’t know if Pennsylvania was ready for this,” Gov. Wolf said. “I believe Pennsylvania is ready for this.”

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