Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) described the “great conversation” he had with President Joe Biden about marijuana policy just weeks before the White House announced mass pardons for people with federal cannabis possession crimes.
During an hour-long panel discussion with the PennLive editorial board on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate candidate pointed out that the president made the clemency action less than two weeks after the two presidents discussed Pennsylvania’s statewide clemency program with more than 3,500 applicants for exemption from the governor.
Watch Fetterman discuss cannabis policy around the 40:25 mark in the video below:
Fetterman, who is running against anti-legalization GOP candidate Mehmet Oz, said he asked Biden at last month’s Labor Day meeting “if we could do this nationally,” referring to Pennsylvania’s clemency program. And the president indicated that he was “open to that” after their conversation.
“Then, about 10 days ago, it was passed into law [the federal pardons] which could once again change thousands of lives in the United States and move us away from criminalizing and not allowing [have] a criminal record for their own lives for using just one plant,” he said.
I just finished a one-hour support interview with @PennLive editorial – you can see the whole thing below. Dr. Oz left it out.
I had a stroke and showed up. What’s your excuse @DrOz?https://t.co/EUvu2ay5C2
– John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) October 12, 2022
Sources told Marijuana Moment at the time that the president and lieutenant governor also discussed potentially changing marijuana’s status under the Controlled Substances Act. Biden is done directing the federal review of cannabis scheduling last week.
Fetterman was also asked by a member of the editorial board about his opinion on drugs in addition to cannabis. He said he had never called for the legalization of “hard substances” such as heroin, but maintained that people should not be criminalized for abusing the drug.
“I’ve always argued that we can’t arrest our way out of addiction. We cannot criminalize addiction,” he said. “It’s a disease.”
In fact, Fetterman’s campaign has been somewhat vague about his position on broader decriminalization of the drug.
In 2015, he He told The nation that he”I am a supporter of the legalization of marijuana, but I go even further than some of my colleagues because I am in favor of decriminalization.
“I see this as a public health issue, not a criminal law issue,” he said at the time.
But a Fetterman spokeswoman He told the Philadelphia Inquirer last month that “John does not support the decriminalization of all drugs, including heroin, methamphetamines and other hard drugs.”
Meanwhile, Fetterman and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) he also discussed cannabis issues at a marijuana conference late last month, when the state official encouraged people to apply for statewide pardons for past cannabis convictions as part of the month-long program he launched with Gov. Tom Wolf (D).
The application window for the accelerated utility that was with the help of the State Board of Pardons (BOP).closed last week.
The governor-general told Marijuana Moment in a statement last week that the board “thanks everyone who applied and hopes for a better life for those who are granted clemency.”
“While this effort has reached a small portion of the people affected by marijuana prohibition, the only lasting relief will come when our Republican legislature finally decides to do the right thing and legalize it,” he said.
Two out of every three Pennsylvania voters, according to a poll released last month they say they support the legalization of marijuanawhich is welcome news for Fetterman as his GOP Senate opponent is launching attacks over support for the proposed drug policy reform.
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Oz criticized his opponent’s stance on drug policy despite calling marijuana “one of America’s most underutilized tools” in 2020 and saying the country “completely change our policy on marijuana.”
Last month Oz he once again took aim at his US Senate opponent for his support for the legalization of marijuana — but after being pressed about his previous comments on the topic, he admitted that yes, he personally supports medical cannabis, saying it’s a “safer option” compared to certain prescription drugs like opioids.
Fetterman’s critics, including far-right provocateur Ann Coulter and former US House Speaker New Gingrich have also questioned the cannabis-themed flag the governor hung over the balcony of his office in Harrisburg. (Coulter falsely suggested that Fetterman had deleted a tweet showing him holding the flag in a recent blog post.)
Before Wolf endorsed the legalization of marijuana, Fetterman he also led a national listening tour to hear what residents have to say about the policy proposal. He described his role in the tour on the website of the Senate campaign.
In a fundraising email earlier this year, he also talked about “legalizing weed for jobs, justice, veterans, farmers and revenue.”
Fetterman previously said farmers in his state could they grow marijuana better than people in New Jersey— and that was one of the reasons why Pennsylvania needs to reform its cannabis laws as soon as possible.
In 2020, he led a virtual forum where he reached advises on the effective implementation of the cannabis system From the lieutenant governors of Illinois and Michigan, which signed legalization into law.
The governor who signed it a medical cannabis expansion bill last yearrepeatedly called for legalization and pressured the Republican-controlled Legislature to pursue reform since In 2019, he stands for politics.
Last year, Wolf pardoned a doctor who was arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for growing marijuana to support his dying wife. This marked his 96. pardon for those convicted of cannabis through the expedited review program for marijuana-related nonviolent offenses.
Also the race for Governor of Pennsylvania put cannabis policy in the spotlightreform-minded Democratic nominee Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running against aggressively anti-legalization Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.
Kansas lawmakers hold first of three medical-marijuana hearings and plan to draft new reform bill in coming weeks