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August 08, 2018

Tom Wolf: 'I don't think Pennsylvania's actually ready' for recreational marijuana

Governor said exact same thing 17 months ago

Marijuana Politics
04202018_marijuana_unsplash Photo by Thought Catalog/ on Unsplash

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, during a radio interview this week, said he doesn’t think the state is ready for the legalization of  recreational marijuana.

Here are Wolf’s comments from the segment recorded Tuesday with Pittsburgh’s KDKA 1020:

There are, what, six states that have legalized recreational marijuana in the United States. I don’t think the citizens of Pennsylvania are ready for it, and so the answer I would say is no. What we’ve done with medical marijuana is to fill a gap that existed in terms of doctors’ options for treating their patients. I think when Pennsylvania legalized (medical) marijuana, it was the 29th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize medical marijuana. 
And the most recent two things — the dry leaf, which apparently is the most efficient base to create the vapor for folks, it’s less expensive and faster; and also apparently, for some reason unknown to me, it also works better for folks with PTSD. So that seems to be something the doctors want, that should make the legalized medical marijuana better. We also announced 13 new permits, so we’re moving forward with medical marijuana. 
But I’m not sure, to your original question, I don’t think Pennsylvania’s actually ready for recreational marijuana.

The clip doesn’t include a follow-up from the KDKA 1020 hosts, asking Wolf why he feels this way.

This is a belief Wolf has held for quite some time: 17 months ago, the Democratic governor said nearly the exact same thing when asked about Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s argument for legalizing recreational marijuana with respect to the statewide financial incentives.

“I don’t think Pennsylvania is ready for it,” Wolf told NBC10 in March of 2017. “I think that’s important. This is a democracy and you can’t move ahead of the electorate.”

This, of course, begs the question: When will Pennsylvania be ready for medical marijuana in Wolf’s eyes?

Last March, he told NBC10 that it would "be wise to do more research on recreational marijuana and to wait for other states like Colorado, Washington and Maine to figure it out first.”

According to a Denver Post article from February, Colorado collected nearly $250 million in taxes and fees revenues from marijuana sales in 2017.

Last Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health awarded 13 more permits for cannabis growers, bringing the state’s number up to 25, yet failed to issue a permit to any applicant in Philadelphia. City Councilman Derek Green was “astounded” by the decision.

Listen to the clip of Wolf's interview below:


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