Gov. Wolf Wants to Put the Pot in Pottsville … Legally
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says the state should approve recreational marijuana use for adults.
Also, on Wednesday, Wolf called for immediate action to decriminalize some marijuana possession and expunge records for people who’ve been convicted of these crimes
Wolf was joined by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman at a press conference in Harrisburg on Wednesday. Together, they announced the results of Fetterman’s 3-month listening tour across the Commonwealth. And Wolf said he now approved of approving recreational marijuana use in Pennsylvania.
Wolf Supports Recreational Marijuana in Pennsylvania
“We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” Wolf says.
If Pennsylvania were to become the next state to approve recreational marijuana, it’d be the 12th in the U.S. Medicinal marijuana is already approved in Pennsylvania.
The following states have already approved recreational marijuana:
- Washington, DC
There’s no timetable on when Wolf expects recreational marijuana legalization approved in Pennsylvania. When you consider how much the state still regulates alcohol sales and the obscene taxes on cigarettes, you should probably figure on this taking a while. Everyone’s going to get their hands in on this debate and by the end, you’ll be paying for it at the register.
In the meantime, Wolf called for some rather immediate action on the weed:
- Decriminalize non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses. Namely, this involves eliminating arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana
- Expunge records. Get rid of previous convictions and delete records related to non-violent and small marijuana possession charges.
“I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together, especially the criminal justice reforms I am proposing today, which will have an immediately positive influence on thousands of families across Pennsylvania,” Wolf says.
Results of Fetterman’s Listening Tour
Here are some of the key state-wide takeaways from Lt. Gov. Fetterman’s listening tour report released Wednesday:
- 68% of responses (of 10.275 responses) made on tour stops supported legalizing recreational marijuana
- 82% of all comments (44,407 responses including online form answers, etc.) supported legalization
“We’ve heard you, and this announcement today is our earnest effort to bring about the changes you’ve told us you want,” Fetterman says.
Recreational Marijuana in Schuylkill County
Fetterman’s marijuana listening tour stopped in Pottsville on March 2 this year. Fetterman says he got 200 responses to comment cards and remarks made by people in attendance that night. Over the course of his tour, the lieutenant governor says Schuylkill County logged a total of 632 comments on the subject, including those made online, via email, mail, phone calls and faxes (We want to know who faxed their thoughts on this.).
Of the people at the tour stop in March, here’s how they responded:
- 83% SUPPORT recreational marijuana
- 12% AGAINST recreational marijuana
- 5% UNDECIDED on the issue
Among the 632 comments filed from Schuylkill County throughout the listening tour and on all platforms, here’s how we responded:
- 85% SUPPORT recreational marijuana
- 14% AGAINST recreational marijuana
- 1% UNDECIDED on the issue
The Fetterman report lists these 3 most common reasons why the state should approve recreational marijuana, as submitted by Schuylkill County residents:
- Economic benefits
- Stopping job discrimination
Locals Worry Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
According to his report, Fetterman says the reasons Schuylkill County residents gave him in support of legalizing were to get it off criminal records and stop arrests and prosecution of this non-crime.
Schuylkill County residents also apparently see potential economic benefits from marijuana legalization. His report says “economic benefits: tax revenue” but perhaps the Libertarian streak running through the County actually meant the potential boost to private industry and business, not necessarily the state … PERHAPS!
Lastly, coal region residents believe employers shouldn’t be able to “hold cannabis use against an employee” if it’s legalized in Pennsylvania. That’s not going to happen and we certainly don’t wish for the state to start regulating marijuana that much if legalization is approved.
Among the minority in Schuylkill County saying they don’t support legalization right now, most believe it’s a “gateway” drug. That means some believe smoking the pot will lead to harder drug use, a theory that’s largely been debunked.
Others think more research is needed on the subject. Also, some believe legalization will lead to more DUI arrests.