Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been steadily leaning towards legalizing marijuana in the state, and the newest indication is a series of town hall meetings scheduled to discuss the move with the residents.
The plan is for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has been vocal in support of a move to legalize, to hold a session in each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Other venues will be open as well, including commentary online and through other means.
Gov. Wolf said that at this point, the government is trying to learn from the residents, come to a better understanding of where the residents are on the matter and anything that can be gleaned from experiences and opinions of said residents.
This will not be the governor’s first exposure to marijuana legislation. Gov. Wolf was in office to sign the medical marijuana bill into law in 2016, and he also oversaw the first sale in 2018. That move was backed by majority approval. However, discussions on legalizing marijuana for recreational use have been met with strong opposition.
The governor was previously on the side of the opposition, but with moves to legalize in both neighbouring New York and New Jersey imminent, Gov. Wolf has recently been saying that now is not the time to ignore the changes taking place around us. Instead, it is time to gather information and recognize the importance of the change, should that be the route the Pennsylvania legislators choose to go.
As far as the residents they support, the move has been backed for some time. A 2017 poll found that over half of Pennsylvanians support the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. One major impediment to such a move in PA is the fact that the 10 states that have legalized recreational use have done so through voter referendum, which is not a possibility for Pennsylvania voters.
Instead, voters will have to rely on the predominantly Republican legislature – the same ones to show such strong feelings against the move in previous legislative sessions. So while the idea is gaining slow traction, it may not be on the agenda as soon as planned in other states.
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