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April 20, 2016

U.S. Senate candidate Fetterman: 'Let's make marijuana legal'

On National Weed Day, he cites racial disparities in enforcement as an impetus to legalize the drug

On National Weed Day – April 20, aka 4/20 – U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman released a campaign video calling for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

His well-timed message cited ending “our nation’s racist war on drugs” as the rationale behind legalization.

“I don’t know why we’re hung up on marijuana in this country,” he says. “Whites and African Americans use it at roughly the same rates, yet African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested and charged for its use.

“Let’s make marijuana legal. Let’s take it out of the shadows and take away an important piece of the systemic racism that exists in our nation’s drug policy.”

Fetterman’s video comes three days after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill making the commonwealth the 24th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

That legislation, however, didn’t legalize recreational use across Pennsylvania, though decriminalization efforts in Philadelphia turned possession of less than 30 grams into an offense warranting a ticket, not an arrest.

As for Fetterman’s competition in the race, they did not release similar videos on Weed Day, of course. A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday shows Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak atop the primary race with 39 percent each and Fetterman trailing far behind.

According to spokeswoman Sabrina Singh, McGinty “supports legalizing medical marijuana and supports decriminalization.” 

While in the U.S. House, Sestak voted for a bill which, though it ultimately failed, would have allowed states to regulate medical marijuana.

Campaign spokesman Michael Garrett said Sestak "is happy to see" Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana.

"Joe also does not think jail time for small amounts of marijuana is appropriate," Garrett said.