Fetterman coming to York County to talk recreational marijuana

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania speaks at a news conference with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in his Capitol reception room, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pa. The men announced that Fetterman will open a "conversation" about legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania by scheduling a series of town hall-style sessions on it. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is bringing his listening tour about recreational marijuana use to York County. 

Fetterman announced in January he'd be holding town-hall style events in each of the state's 67 counties to talk about possible legalization. Locals will get their chance to weigh in from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at York College's DeMeester Recital Hall.

The Democrat, who has long been a supporter of legalization, has already visited 18 counties. Spokeswoman Christina Kauffman said the events so far have been a success, with residents offering a wave of both positive and negative comments.

"The point is to have open discourse and see where people stand and what issues need to be addressed," Kauffman said. "Everyone has been invited to engage in discourse, whether that be positive or negative feedback."

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Gov. Tom Wolf in December said it was time for the state to consider legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Such a move would be a large leap from the state's medical marijuana program, which was signed into law in 2016.

Last year, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale calculated such a move would generate roughly $580 million in new revenue from taxing and regulating marijuana. Nearly 60 percent of residents also approve of legalization, according to a 2017 Franklin & Marshall College poll.

While recreational legalization has been floated before — with opposition from Republicans — the most recent effort comes from state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny County, whose bill remains in the House Health Committee.

Not only would the bill legalize recreational use of cannabis for residents 21 years old and older, but it also would expunge the records of those who have been arrested or convicted of minor cannabis offenses and allow for the growth of up to six plants at home.

The bill has more than 25 co-sponsors, including state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City. However, Republican leaders have recently reaffirmed  their opposition to legalization, making such legislation unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Those unable to attend the upcoming recreational marijuana town hall can submit their feedback online at https://www.governor.pa.gov/recreational-marijuana-feedback/#Dates.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.