STATE—Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman set out at the start of this week on a 67-county listening tour seeking opinions on the possibility of recreational marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania.
“More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, especially those surrounding Pennsylvania, and we should learn from their efforts, and better understand the potential fiscal impacts of this reality before taking any collective action,” said Governor Tom Wolf in a press release announcing the tour's commencement.
The release further states any potential recreational legalization would not be implemented until after Pennsylvania fully implements its medical marijuana program, itself only legal since 2016.
The Lieutenant Governor plans to visit all counties in the Commonwealth.
Starting Monday night in Dauphin County, Fetterman visited Cumberland County on Wednesday and has since continued moving westward in the state.
No date has yet been set for his appearance in Wayne County.
The inaugural listening stop drew a crowd of 250 individuals.
In addition to or in lieu of attending a stop along Fetterman's listening tour, Pennsylvanians can also submit comments regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana online by clicking a link on the Governor's website, www.governor.pa.gov.
As of 10 a.m. on Valentine's Day, over 12,000 responses had been submitted online.
The aforementioned link also shows upcoming tour dates.
As of publication time on Friday afternoon, the tour was scheduled through February 27, visiting Cambria, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Greene, Juniata, Warren and Washington counties.
What your legislators think
In light of the listening tour, The Wayne Independent checked in with Wayne County's state representatives to view their thoughts on the matter.
Senator Lisa Baker (R-20th, Wayne/ Pike/ Luzerne/ Susquehanna/ Wyoming) stated “Pennsylvania is still in the early stages of implementing medical marijuana, which at least is taking place in a restrictive and controlled environment.
“Without the benefit of additional research, I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana. The prospect of realizing additional revenue is insufficient reason to set aside the public health concerns.
“The marijuana debate should not occur outside of the context of the severe opioid crisis being confronted across our communities.
“There is also a significant public safety concern, as recent reports disclosed the frustration within the law enforcement community over the difficulty of finding a reliable test for determining driving under the influence of drugs.”
As stated by Representative Jonathan Fritz (R-111th, Wayne/Susquehanna), “I am not supportive of legalizing recreational marijuana, especially while our communities are dealing with this absolutely devastating heroin epidemic.
“Widespread drug abuse is crippling this nation and there is an ever growing spectrum of drugs and means to obtain them. In my opinion, the best way to stem the tide is to teach our children to just say no to all drugs.”
Comments were not received from Representative Mike Peifer (R-139th, Wayne/Pike) by publication deadline Friday afternoon.
—Information from a release was used in this story.