HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Gov. Tom Wolf says he is now in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Pennsylvania, and is asking lawmakers to consider it.
Wolf’s announcement Wednesday advances his position from last December, when he signaled that he was open to taking a look at it as it gathered popularity and momentum, particularly in bordering states. Before last winter, he had dismissed the idea.
Wolf, a Democrat, made the announcement while releasing a report from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s statewide listening tour on legalizing marijuana.
Wolf has long supported decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, although the Legislature hasn’t passed legislation to that effect, and he signed legislation in 2016 creating Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.
WATCH: KDKA’s Paul Martino reports live on the governor’s statements.
He also wants lawmakers to allow the expungement of past convictions of non-violent and small marijuana-related crimes.
“An employer doing a criminal background check will look at that and say move onto the next applicant,” said Patrick Nightingale of Pittsburgh NORML. “It has implications for employment and housing.”
Pennsylvania House Republican Leadership issued a statement, saying:
“We are disappointed and frustrated Gov. Wolf would promote recreational use of a … schedule 1 narcotic. We do not believe easing regulations on illegal drugs is the right move in helping the thousands of Pennsylvanias who are battling drug addiction. “
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