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Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman on Cannabis [Expert Interview] |

JOhn Fetterman was the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania since 2019 after serving fourteen years as Mayor of Braddock, PA. During his tenure, he became a leading progressive voice for criminal justice reformhigher wages, and perhaps most notably, cannabis reform.

In fact, in the summer of 2020, the lieutenant governor made national headlines when he hung a cannabis flag from his office balcony, urging state Republicans to insert a provision into a budget bill. prohibit the display of unapproved flags on the grounds of the Capitol – a provision he continued to challenge only eight weeks later.

An interview with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman

Mr. Fetterman is currently US Senate candidate seat being vacated by incumbent Senator Pat Toomey, and was kind enough to speak with PotGuide about his prospects for cannabis legalization both in Pennsylvania and nationwide in the new year.

Trevor Ross: What real changes can Pennsylvanians expect for cannabis in 2022 and beyond?

John Fetterman: I don’t realistically think there is a path to legalization for Pennsylvania just because it’s a political year and it’s an election. But something seismic happened last year: A Republican introduced a Republican bill to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania, which is a huge leap forward. And he called it “inevitable” at the time, which is a remarkable reversal of fortune. It’s inevitable, and it will happen. But in 2022, [with] parties have dealt with the redistricting and all the other contentious issues, I don’t see it. But the good news is that it’s inevitable, and we’re headed in that direction.

TR: How Will Pennsylvania Be Different From Other States With Cannabis?

JF: I think we will have the benefit of learning from states like Colorado and other early adopter states. I think we’re going to dive much deeper and build on the shoulder of some of the previous states. It will be a boon for Pennsylvania. This will be an incredible opportunity for criminal justice reform, job creation, tax revenue, etc. There is literally no downside. It’s a substance that’s already widely used by millions of Pennsylvanians, so it’s not like we’re introducing a new substance to the population. It’s already there, it’s just that we make it safer, we make it taxable, we make it open, and we cut out the crime that traps 20,000 Pennsylvanians every year.

TR: In your opinion, what are the prospects for the legalization of cannabis at the federal level?

JF: I hope so! The fact that it is still a schedule I drug is the real tragedy. The fact that veterans, researchers and banks are paralyzed by this absurd idea that it belongs to the class of substances like methamphetamine or heroin is insane. I don’t know a single curator who thinks this belongs in Schedule I.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is a strong advocate for federal cannabis reform. Photo credit

This is the minimum that should happen at this time. I have not come across a single person who has argued, or would argue, that it belongs as a Schedule I substance. This is nonsense. I’ve said it time and time again: the party that seizes legalization and rides it will reap the political benefits. He’s very popular among Democrats and very popular among Conservatives, and I think the support will go even further once people have an alternative to alcohol or painkillers. It is obvious.

TR: What actions can citizens take to help cannabis reform?

JF: If you live in a conservative state or conservative district, call and write your legislators and ask, “What are we doing here? It’s ridiculous. We need money, we need to get the government out – for me it’s about freedom. People need to remind their legislators: this is a matter of freedom. I’m an adult, and it’s a stuff I could grow with my tomatoes – in fact, in states like Arizona, you can grow it with your tomatoes!

We are ruining people’s lives every day in this country with a criminal record for consuming something that did not cause an overdose death. Meanwhile, I could drive to a liquor store and buy a gallon of grain alcohol and get drunk to death this afternoon. And stop at a casino on the way back and gamble my savings. So it’s utter nonsense, and people need to remind their legislators of that.

TR: Just stay on it then?

JF: Just stay on it. And speak up about it. We all have a platform now. We are all on social media. Be vocal about it. I’m not even a smoker! It’s not me trying to get better things. This is a benefit for everyone, whether you use cannabis or not. Legalization is absolute[ly], shamelessly, a positive for society. Whether you use it or not, whether you are for it or against it, it’s already there, it’s legal in many of our states. We need to bring it permanently out of the shadows across the country and allow all the benefits to accrue [in] all corners of the country. And the fact that we’re still programming him with really dangerous and highly addictive substances is absurd.

Mr. Fetterman still resides in Braddock, PA, in a renovated Chevrolet dealership.

When do you think about legalization in Pennsylvania and beyond? Share in the comments!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (Licence)

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