MONONGAHELA, Pa. (KDKA) — Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman say they have the will of the people behind them in their quest to legalize recreational marijuana.
Governor Wolf climbed a ladder in Devore’s Hardware on his tour celebrating Monongahela’s revitalization on Thursday.
Twenty-four hours earlier, he was with the Lt. Governor in Harrisburg announcing his support to legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.
“It’s adult-regulated recreational marijuana,” Wolf explained as he paused on Main Street on Thursday. “I think now is the time to start moving in this direction. We’ve had good success with medical marijuana and it’s different. But the time is here.”
The governor is already hearing the backlash from legislative Republicans, including one of his hosts Wednesday — Monongahela Rep. Bud Cook.
“We’re dealing with tremendous opioid addictions, and alcoholism is a really big issue,” Cook said. “So I think, for now, I’m going to have a real hard time supporting recreational marijuana. It’s not something we need in the valley. What that would cause is concern of an entry (drug) to our younger people and I think it’s just too soon.”
“I think it’s time to look at marijuana legalization,” Carrol Township Police Chief Paul Brand said
“It’s going to take away some of our concerns on keeping evidence in certain cases and free up some more of our ability to do other work in the area,” Monongahela Police Chief Kevin Harris said.
The governor pointed out that while recreational marijuana received headlines from the announcement, their plan doesn’t stop there.
Governor Wolf and Lt. Governor Fetterman want to see small possession decriminalized and past offenders pardoned.
“If decriminalization goes through, that could affect tens of thousands of people,” said Gov. Wolf. “Tens of thousands of people we’re paying to incarcerate, $40,000 a year. And they shouldn’t be there.”
Lt. Governor Fetterman put out a call Wednesday to everyone with non-violent marijuana-related convictions to apply for pardons.
Those pardons will have to be signed by Governor Wolf.
KDKA: “So are you ready to do that?
Gov. Wolf: “Oh, yeah, I’m doing that now. I’m looking at people who are unfairly behind bars. But it’s a slow process and it would be easier if we said, ‘We’re not going to lock you up in the first place.’”