Fetterman Listens to Pros and Cons on Legalizing Marijuana During Stop in Clarion

CLARION, Pa. (EYT)CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion County residents on both sides of the spectrum attended Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s statewide marijuana legalization listening tour in Clarion on Thursday night.

(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)

The lieutenant governor has spent the first part of the year traveling to counties all over the state, asking residents to give their opinions on the legalization of marijuana.

Clarion County was the 43rd stop on the tour, which had already made stops in both Forest and Jefferson Counties on Saturday, April 13, as well as Venango County on Sunday, March 10.

Fetterman was happy with the turnout and the participation in Clarion, as well as in the surrounding counties.

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“You have a gorgeous 75-degree evening in spring at the start of a long weekend, and the attendance was great and people were ready to talk about it, and we had a great conversation,” Fetterman told exploreClarion.com.

People on both sides of the issue, from teachers to social workers and truck drivers to veterans, gave their opinions in Clarion, but those in support seemed to outnumber those against the measure.

“I’ve seen a lot of people who have suffered because marijuana is illegal. I’ve seen a lot of families who have been torn apart and thrown further into poverty because they were convicted of marijuana usage, and it’s ridiculous,” said local social worker Stephanie White.

Stephanie White at Fetterman event

Those against legalizing the use of recreational marijuana pointed out to Fetterman and the crowd that there have been studies on marijuana being an addictive drug. One individual asked if “we really need another problem” with drugs in our area, stating that the legalization of the drug would increase its use.

Leslie Lander, Director of Celebrate Recovery Program at Cornerstone Church, commented on the addiction aspect of marijuana.

“If somebody says it’s not addictive, I think that’s a blanket statement, and I don’t think that’s accurate.

“I’ve worked with people that truly are addicted,” noted Leslie.

Others against the movement to legalize marijuana questioned whether there would be an increase in the number of DUI’s. One point that was repeated during the meeting was: “What about the children?” The individuals against the legalization of the drug emphasized there could be psychiatric issues, as well as other problems with the children who are exposed to the drug.

Each individual who spoke was respectfully given time to explain themselves before moving on to the next person, creating a steady dialogue of points and counterpoints with very little disruption.

“I love Clarion,” Fetterman said. “I’ve been here five or six times over the last 14 or 15 months. It’s great to come back and to come to such a warm reception where people are willing to talk and be respectful.”

According to Fetterman, Clarion wasn’t unusual in this way, though, as the tour has been going smoothly in all of the counties he has visited so far.

“I think they all compare beautifully because everyone was civil, and we’ve had great participation and attendance. In Forest, we had about 50 people come out, but Forest only has about 7,000 people, and it was on the first day of trout season on a beautiful Saturday morning. So, we had great attendance, and we had a very thoughtful exchange.”

Likewise, Fetterman said he met much the same reception in Venango County.

“Venango was great. We’ve had 43 counties, and they’ve all been good.”

While he has been happy with much of the reception throughout the state, he did run into a different situation recently in Jefferson County.

“There was a bit of a different vibe,” he noted. “There seems to be a situation with a specific state rep who attempted to kind of pack the room and create a confrontation needlessly. But, you know, bring one, come all, and everyone is afforded a chance to speak, and it was still a great event.”

A brief search turned up the following Facebook post on the official page of State Representative Cris Dush, posted on April 9:

PLEASE SHARE!

This weekend the Lt. Governor is bringing his “Marijuana Listening Tour” to Jefferson and Indiana Counties. One thing about this tour; he knows that it will be the people who are in support of it that will usually show up for these meetings. By holding these meetings in towns where there is a known drug problem or on university campuses he is far more likely to have people show who are in support. I believe he intends to go before the press after visiting all 67 counties and making the pitch that 70% or more in each county support legalizing pot.

I’ve been out there with the people of my district and I know better. I was at the stop he made in Dubois and know the vote there was not reflective of the general population of the Dubois area.

He will be at The Foundary, 45 West Main Street, Reynoldsville on Saturday of this week from 2:30 to 4:00pm and at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, 711 Pratt Drive, Indiana, Pa. from 5:30 – 7:00pm.

The good people of our area understand that full blown legalization of marijuana is not a good thing, especially with the ability to now produce 95%+ potency to the products that are being produced.

Big tobacco and Big Pharma are now buying significant interests in both the “Legalized Marijuana” companies in states which have allowed it and are now targetting children with products like Gummie Bear candy and lollipops. Tobacco company Altria has also bought a significant interest in the JUUL vaping company which can be used to vape marijuana.

Our kids are being targeted again.

I’m asking folks to pack the house and both locations this weekend. You don’t have to say anything. But when the Lt. Governor asks for a show of hands for those who support it and for those who are against, I’d like to take the PR opportunity from him to say that the people from 67 counties support this.

I will leave you with the following from someone who’s been responsible for the welfare of the people of the city of Denver and what they are experiencing.

https://youtu.be/RtgsPeWsdJI

However, despite the “packed house” in Jefferson County, Fetterman felt the meeting was still a productive one.

“That’s a tribute to the people of Pennsylvania, and I think it’s a tribute to the fact that there’s still a very strong urge for people to exchange ideas with those that may or may not agree with them on everything.”

While there have been some people in opposition to legalization at each of the stops, according to Fetterman, support for legalization has been the prevailing opinion thus far.

“I would peg Pennsylvanians overall in support based on the 43 counties,” he explained.

“I hear virtual universal support for decriminalization overall, and I hear virtual unanimous support and praise for our medical program. So, there’s definitely been a lot of shifting and changes in the public perceptions and our meetings in all of these counties is reinforcing that.”


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