Billy Penn in Harrisburg

Gov. Wolf: PA should take a ‘serious and honest look’ at legalizing recreational marijuana

With both NY and NJ moving toward legal weed, the governor’s position appears to be evolving.

wolf-crop
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

As New York state moves closer to jumping on the legal weed bandwagon, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a tweet Wednesday he thinks “it is time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana.”

That’s a notable change in position for Wolf, who as recently as August said the commonwealth is not “ready for recreational marijuana.”

A spokesperson for Wolf said the governor has always had an open mind about the subject, but reiterated that he believes it’s time for a “serious and honest discussion about it.” Wolf has in the past supported the idea of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, and he also supports the state’s fast-growing medical marijuana program.

Several prominent state Democrats have come out in favor of legalization, including incoming Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. According to a September 2017 poll by F&M College, 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalization.

Even with Wolf’s backing, it’s unlikely Pennsylvania will legalize recreational marijuana any time soon. In order to do that, a bill would have to pass both Republican-controlled chambers. New House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County) and returning Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) both opposed legalizing medical marijuana.

The tough odds haven’t stopped Democrats including Pittsburgh state Rep. Jake Wheatley from putting forth legalization bills. “The timing is right for us to do the right thing and allow for adults to make adult decisions,” Wheatley said in September.

Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Harrisburg in January for a new session, where they’ll consider a fresh batch of legislative proposals.

Want some more? Explore other Billy Penn in Harrisburg stories.

Mornings in the know

Sign up for Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter for a daily roundup of Philadelphia’s most pressing news, top interesting stories, fun tidbits, and relevant events.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn article!

We don’t have a paywall, and never will. Instead, we depend on readers like you to keep our newsroom jamming on stories about Philadelphia. If you like what you see, will you support our work?

Thanks for reading a Billy Penn story

We don’t have a paywall, and our daily newsletter is free. Instead, YOU are key to keeping our nonprofit newsroom running strong. If you like what you see, will you join as a member today?

This story was powered by readers

Readers like you make articles like this possible, so thanks for your support. Want to make sure we stick around? Become a sustainer with a recurring contribution!

Tell a friend about Billy Penn

Thanks for reading another article — and we’re grateful for your support! Want to help a friend start their day with Billy Penn? Send them to our newsletter signup page.