Recreational marijuana listening tour reaches Franklin County

CHAMBERSBURG --- Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman's made stop 54 out of 67 county stops for his recreational marijuana listening tour.

A crowd packed the Eugene C. Clark, Jr., Community Center Thursday night to voice support and opposition to legalizing the drug in the commonwealth.

Those people in support of the idea made points including easing marijuana access as a safer and more cost effective form of pain relief and decriminalize the drug to support less arrests and cleaner criminal records.

Those people against the idea worry for public safety, such as an increase in driving under the influence-related incidents, the affects on young people from a developmental and influence, as well as concerns tax revenues will fall short of expectations.

This event comes as four Franklin County Republicans: Rep. John Hershey, 82nd; Rep. Rob Kauffman, 89th; Rep. Paul Schemel, 90th; Rep. Jesse Topper, 78th, declined an invitation to the event, calling it a "sham."

Rep.Kauffman, who is also the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a government body that would likely review potential recreational marijuana legalization legislation, believes the listening tour is "cheerleading" for recreational marijuana as opposed to listening to voters thoughts.

“We can’t just go, you know, knee jerk reaction and legalize recreational marijuana because we want a couple hundred million dollars more to spend. That is horrible public policy," said Kauffman.

In an email statement to FOX43, Rep. Hershey said:

“I continue to be concerned about the way the tour is being conducted. I feel that many people showing up to this tour do not reflect Juniata, Mifflin and Franklin counties as a whole. I recently did a poll, and nearly 80% of people were opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana. I have to trust the lieutenant governor is taking these views into account as he travels the state.”

Lt. Gov. Fetterman says to this point of the listening tour, 60 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalizing marijuana.

He responded to their absence during the event Thursday night.

“I respectfully disagree with their thesis and we have always sought to be transparent and open on any views on cannibis and I don’t talk about my views or campaign. We’re simply here to collect information and opinions," said Fetterman.

In an assessment of the room, those that spoke at the microphone appeared split on support and opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana.

A hand-raising vote at the end of the event appeared in favor of legalization.

The event also accepts comment cards.

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