There was a mother frustrated with marijuana use in her neighborhood; a young borough president eager for new industry; an Army veteran who read a pro-weed poem.
Well over a hundred people crowded into the Harrisburg Jewish Federation for the first stop on Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s 67-county listening tour about whether to legalize recreational marijuana.
Late in the evening, Fetterman asked for a show of hands from the people who supported legalization, and from those who didn’t. Legalization supporters were in the clear majority.
But everyone got a chance to speak — like Angila Johnson of Harrisburg, who is already frustrated with illegal marijuana use in her neighborhood and thinks legalizing would make it worse. She and has husband own a home not far from Governor Tom Wolf’s official residence. But Johnson said she and her family “cannot enjoy that home because many people in that urban community already believe that it’s legal, that it’s okay to smoke marijuana. And when you protest against it, you’re met with threats of violence.”
On the other side were people like Michael Inman — also of Harrisburg. He is trying to get his record expunged after a felony conviction for possession with intent to sell. He said there was no intent.
“It cost me a lot of money to walk away from it, and I’ve still paid for it today,” he said. “It makes jobs unattainable.”
He added, “Pa. is very hard on felonies, so it makes life a little bit uncomfortable for something that’s so simple and that doesn’t really hurt anyone.”
Fetterman’s next stop is in Perry County.
He plans to hit all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in the next few months.