County Legislators Will Skip Pot ‘Listening’ Tour

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CHAMBERSBURG — Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is coming to town next month to hear local views on legalizing recreational marijuana.

But the event will be boycotted by four state legislators representing the county in Harrisburg.

The Rep. John Hershey (R-82), Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-89), Rep. Paul Schemel (R-90) and Rep. Jesse Topper, (R-78) issued a press release Thursday saying they would not attend.

Fetterman’s stop in Chambersburg is a part of a statewide “listening tour” to gain public input about the legalization issue, according to his press secretary, Christina Kauffman.

The four state legislators question his motives in inviting them to join him on the stage at the May 2 event at the Eugene Clark Recreation Center.

“We recognize this event for what it is: cover to push an agenda of legalizing drugs,” they said.

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According to their letter, Rep. Hershey “experienced this firsthand” when he attended a listening tour in Juniata County Fetterman’s invitation.

Their statement did not cite specific examples of what happened at that event.

They do claim Fetterman, who defeated Republican Scott Wagner last year while running on a pro-pot platform, is in the pocket of the marijuana industry.

“(He) was endorsed by the marijuana industry PAC, trading under the abbreviation NORML, which called Fetterman an “unrelenting champion” of legalizing pot,” they said in a joint statement issued Thursday. “When the lieutenant governor visits Franklin County, what exactly is he listening for?”

Asked where Fetterman stands on the legalization issue, Christina Kauffman sidestepped the question. Instead she said the Lieutenant Governor “doesn’t discuss his personal views” at the tour events.

“The tours are being held to hear the public’s input about legalization,” she said.

Franklin County’s Republican representatives question that, however.

“Although we commend the lieutenant governor on his willingness to ‘hear’ both sides, we wonder if he will really be ’listening,’” they said in their joint statement.

“We believe this tour is a sham and we decline to be a part of it.”

Joint Statement

Fetterman’s press secretary said so far discussion at the public forums has been civil and respectful.

When the tour is complete, Fetterman will present all of the information he has gathered to Gov. Tom Wolf.

All tour stops are free and open to the public.

Those who are not able to attend or who are interested in remotely leaving a comment about legalizing recreational marijuana may submit comments on the Governor’s website via an online submission form.

The Franklin County stop on Fetterman’s 67-county tour will begin at 6 p.m. May 2 at the Eugene Clark Recreation Center, 235 S. Third St.

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Marijuana Listening Tour – Berks County | Published on Apr 9, 2019 by Dennis Adam
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Of course they wont, they line their pockets with big pharmaceutical company money.
    Big pharmaceutical companies are the biggest lobbying group out there opposed to legalization.

  2. Americans don’t have to like cannabis, but they should hate its prohibition. This prohibition law strikes at the very foundation of our society. It is a tool of tyrants, used to violate core American beliefs and nearly every aspect of the Bill of Rights.

    A populace that accepts and becomes accustom to overreaching government policies, such as the prohibition of relatively safe, popular substances, becomes more accepting of overreaching, powerful government in general. This devastates America, not a plant that has been used by mankind since the beginning of recorded history.

    Those who believe in limited government, personal responsibility, free markets, and individual liberty should embrace the ending of this irrational, un-American, fraudulently enacted cannabis prohibition experiment. It should be the cornerstone of current GOP policy.

    Federal studies show about half of the U.S. population has tried cannabis, at least 15% use it regularly, over 80% of high school seniors have reported cannabis “easy to get” for decades. This prohibition, like alcohol prohibition, has had little of its intended effect. In many cases cannabis prohibition makes cannabis usage problematic where it would not have been otherwise, be it light, moderate, or heavy usage. For the most part, cannabis prohibition only successfully prohibits effective regulation.

    A few issues created by prohibition: there are no quality controls to reduce contaminants (harmful pesticides, molds, fungus, other drugs), there is no practical way to prevent regular underage sales, billions in tax revenue are lost which can be used for all substance abuse treatment, underground markets for all drugs are empowered as a far more popular substance is placed within them expanding their reach and increasing their profits, criminal records make pursuing many decent careers difficult, police and court resources are unnecessarily tied up by pursuing and prosecuting victimless ‘crimes’, public mistrust and disrespect for our legal system, police, and government is increased, which is devastating our country.

    Prohibition is also very expensive, though, a cash cow for a number of powerful groups such as those related to law enforcement and the prison industry. These organizations have powerful lobbies and influence that perpetuate a failed drug policy through ignorance, fear, disinformation and misinformation. This ensures an endless supply of lucrative contracts, grants and subsidies from the government and its taxpayers to support their salaries, tools of the trade, ‘correctional’ services, and other expenses. Cash, property and other assets from civil forfeiture laws also significantly fatten their coffers while often violating civil rights.

    America was built on the principles of freedom and liberty. In some cases there are extreme circumstances that warrant intervention with criminal law. In the case of mind-altering drugs we have already set this precedent with alcohol. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and especially to others. If we are to have justice, then the penalties for using, possessing and selling cannabis should be no worse than those of alcohol.

    Regardless of legal status, a large market for cannabis will continue to exist as it has for decades. Either the underground controls the market and profits from it, or the state does…all while ending their assault on our citizens. Let’s end this costly, futile attempt to eradicate a plant that a majority of Americans believe should be legal.

  3. Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational cannabis in Dec 2012. Legal sales began in Jan 2014 for Colorado, July 2014 for Washington.
    Clearly legal cannabis has not caused a surge in opioid deaths. It may have had a protective effect (as published studies support).

    Opioid Overdose Death Rate per 100,000 (age adjusted):

    National
    2012: 7.4
    2017: 14.9 (increased 101%)

    Pennsylvania (legal medical only, begun in 2018)
    2012: 6.8
    2017: 21.2 (increased 212%)

    Washington State
    2012: 9.7
    2017: 9.6 (decreased 1%)

    Colorado
    2012: 7.7
    2017: 10.0 (increased 30%)

    [SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation]

    Any drug Overdose Death Rate per 100,000 (age adjusted):

    National
    2012: 13.1
    2017: 21.7 (increased 66%)

    Pennsylvania
    2012: 19.0
    2017: 44.3 (increased 133%)

    Washington State
    2012: 13.7
    2017: 15.2 (increased 11%)

    Colorado
    2012: 15.0
    2017: 17.6 (increased 17%)

    [SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation]

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