Gov. Tom Wolf’s new right-hand-man is gearing up to travel to every county in the state to talk about weed — recreational marijuana to be exact.
Distinctive six-and-a-half-foot-tall Lt. Governor John Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock, Pa. who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate but was elected as Wolf’s running mate in November, announced plans recently for a statewide “listening tour” on the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Fetterman, an early supporter of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who also has advocated for across the board legalization of recreational marijuana, said he intends to visit all 67 counties in the state to hold meetings to discuss the issue with residents. He has previously advocated for recreational marijuana legalization, saying there is “no difference at all” between having a glass of wine and consuming some cannabis.
Recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012 in the states of Washington and Colorado; it is now legal in a total of 10 states, was recently legalized in Massachusetts, while New Jersey has passed legislation and Delaware and New York politicians are looking into a similar move.
“It’s about starting the conversation for legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania,” Fetterman told the Associated Press.
Estimates for potential marijuana tax revenues for Pennsylvania range as high as $581 million. Nationwide, it’s virtually impossible to calculate the billions that are being invested in marijuana businesses as more and more states legalize the drug.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman is seen during a visit to Fishtown. (Charles Mostoller)
Legal weed in Pennsylvania?
While Pennsylvania has a medical marijuana program that recently expanded to include prescribing plant marijuana, but recreational weed has long seemed a pipe dream under the state’s mostly-conservative legislature.
Although Gov. Wolf didn’t support legalization during his reelection campaign, now on his final and second term, he has said the issue deserves a “serious look.”
Proposals to legalize weed have been pitched in Harrisburg but never made progress. State Sen. Daylin Leach and State Rep. Jordan Harris have both introduced bills that call for using the existing state liquor store system and its employees to handle sales of marijuana products.