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Lt. Governor John Fetterman Hears Opinions On Recreational Marijuana

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman stopped by Alumni Hall in the HUB on Tuesday night to listen to Centre County residents. The topic was legalization of recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania, something Fetterman has been touring the Keystone State about since February.

The tour has slowly been making its way through every county in Pennsylvania. Centre County is the 41st county Fetterman has visited.

The tour is something unlike your average political town hall. Instead of giving his own opinions and takes, Fetterman stresses the “listening” part of his listening tour. Rather than taking the majority of the attention, the Lt. Governor sat quietly and listened to those who spoke, only butting in to thank them for speaking or to clarify points.

Before people were invited to share their comments, Fetterman took the stage to introduce the rules and expectations of the talk. He made it his goal to have a civil and welcoming environment in Alumni Hall as he’s seen everywhere else he’s gone.

“Some rooms you’ll be sitting next to someone who shares your views, other times you’ll be sitting next to someone who doesn’t,” Fetterman said. “You are secure in sharing your views.”

Fetterman explained the simple rules of the tour, asking the crowd not to boo or jeer those they did not agree with and simply clap for those they did agree with. He also made it fully known to the crowd that this would not be a back and forth discussion — instead, the tour serves more as a “gauging of attitude.”

The former mayor of Braddock, PA also mentioned the three ways they’ll be talking feedback while on the county listening tour. You can either speak in person at the talks, write out physical comment cards provided at the talks, or fill out online feedback forms.

Fetterman was joined on stage with a few other state politicians, including Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins and State Representative Scott Conklin. Conklin took some time to praise Fetterman and his dedication on the tour.

“I’ve never seen anyone work like him and go county to county like this,” Conklin said.

Fetterman speaks with an attendee after the talk.

After the introductions, people started lining up at the microphones set up on either side of Alumni Hall. It was a varied group, consisting of everyone from medical cannabis users and dispensary owners to Penn State students, both graduate and undergrad.

Many interesting viewpoints were given, from a student expressing concerns over medical cannabis use on campus, a Mt. Nittany nurse praising the medical benefits, and a retired law enforcement official who came forward as being pro-legalization.

“I’ve arrested countless people for driving while under the effects of alcohol. I’ve never arrested anyone driving under the influence of marijuana while driving,” said the former police corporal.

The crowd appeared largely pro-legalization. It took 14 people before the crowd heard an anti-legalization viewpoint. Besides that one speaker, only one other person professed being not 100% in favor before settling on the position of “it being legal, but just not for me” after Fetterman asked for more clarification. All in all, 27 different people gave Fetterman and his guests on stage their various opinions on legalizing recreational marijuana.

“Centre County, thank you so much for such a civil and respectful discussion,” Fetterman said after all those interested had the opportunity to speak.

To wrap things up, Fetterman did something he does at every stop, taking a poll of those in the room. He asked everyone to raise their hands to show either being in favor if legalization, against it, or undecided. While no official count was given to those in attendance, the vast majority where in the “yea” camp with only a handful saying “nay.” Just one person said they were undecided, something Fetterman took note of.

“There’s always at least one of you!” joked Fetterman.

The Lt. Governor once again thanked the crowd before the talk ended and stood by a back door to take individual questions. Fetterman’s next stops include Fulton County on April 17 and Clarion County on April 18, future destination dates may be found below the online feedback form on the link posted above.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Matt is a junior majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Philosophy. He's a Philly sports fan, which causes him existential dread on the daily coupled with a deep distaste for the current state of Star Wars. Send him death threats at [email protected] and follow @m_paolizzi on Twitter for a near constant supply of second-hand embarrassment.


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