Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2019 10 Polling Public Opinion Pennsylvania’s pro-marijuana lieutenant governor tours counties to get citizen input on recreational legalization By Jeff Smith P ennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has been traveling the state in recent months, holding “listening” sessions on the pros and cons of legalizing adult-use marijuana. The town hall-style tour reflects a change of attitude by two-term Gov. TomWolf. A former opponent of recreational use, Wolf now says the state should examine the issue, partly in light of legalization talk spreading across the Northeast. Fetterman, a marijuana advocate known for his economic revitalization efforts as the longtime mayor of the Pennsylvania Rust Belt town of Braddock, is the point person for the effort to gauge public sentiment. He has seen the benefits firsthand. Fetterman said medical cannabis has enabled his wife to keep her back pain from a years-old horseback riding accident in the background. Before medical cannabis was legal, he said, she would have days where her back would seize up “and we’d have to wheel her to a chiropractor.” In a March interview with Marijuana Business Maga- zine, Fetterman stressed that he is doing the listening— not the talking—on his tour of the state’s 67 counties. He said it’s way too early to know when Pennsylvania might legalize adult-use marijuana or what such an industry would look like. But one can be assured, he said, that there will be tight controls, including strict rules to keep marijuana out of the hands of children. “We’re not talking about some free-for-all,” he said. What do you hope to learn from the listening tour? I don’t think there’s anything I hope to learn other than what Pennsylvania thinks. I preface each session with, “Look, what I think isn’t interesting. What is interesting is what you all think. And that’s why I’m here.” There’s no guided discovery. The opinion hasn’t been curated. We’re doing straight-up, “Come one, come all. We want to hear what you have to say.” What’s struck you so far about what constituents are telling you about legalization? In the 14 or 15 events we’ve done (as of March 6), we have not had a “con” room. We’ve had varying degrees of support. Right around 50-50 to overwhelming support. Even folks who say, “I don’t support recreational,” say, “I fully support medical marijuana.” That’s a huge development, because Pennsylvania hasn’t always been there. And I think that’s a tribute to the quality of (medical marijuana) legislation that was crafted and also the unending testimony of the benefits that medical cannabis is bringing to people. I had a wrenching story where this man cared for his mother during her last year of life, when she was suffering from brain cancer, and it’s the only thing that gave her any comfort or joy. You can’t judge a book by its cover, whether (people are) going to be pro or con. I’ve had two little old ladies come up and say, “I’ve been smoking cannabis for Five Questions | with John Fetterman Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman