Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is calling for cannabis legalization in the state after Lt. Gov John Fetterman toured the state’s 67 counties and found “the majority” of citizens “supported legalization,” Wolf said, according to a WJAC report.
Last year, Wolf said it was “time to take a serious and honest look” at legalization during a Twitter Q&A.
Wolf also wants lawmakers to pass legislation to allow expunging low level and nonviolent cannabis-related offenses, he said via Twitter. During the tour, criminal justice reform was the number one reason respondents supported legalization.
In February, legalization legislation was introduced by Democratic Rep. Jake Wheatley that includes expungement and would immediately release anyone incarcerated in the state for a cannabis-related crime that would be allowed under the legalization law.
According to Fetterman’s report, 60-70 percent of the residents he spoke to on his listening tour supported the reforms and expressed “near unanimous support” for mass expungement, “universal support” for the state’s medical cannabis program, “near-unanimous” support for removing cannabis as a Schedule I substance federally. The support “does not appear to be contained to certain demographics or party affiliations,” the report says.
“People see economic potential, saying the state would save money on prosecution and incarceration of cannabis-related offenses. Residents who commented said regulated sales could create jobs. They specified that income generated should be used for infrastructure, education, and property tax relief.” – Lieutenant Governor Fetterman Statewide Cannabis Listening Tour Report, July 2019
House Bill 50 would use some of the cannabis-derived profits for student debt relief.
The report did find that citizens have concerns about an uptick in driving under the influence post-legalization, and cannabis’ role as a “gateway” drug, and that most were opposed to “candy-like edibles” due to their potential appeal to children.
In all, Fetterman received 10,275 comments from participants during the tour and 44,407 total responses from all tour comments, webform submissions, emails, phone calls, and faxes.