I was the one speaker the Lt. Governor cut off short. Here’s my take on the first stop of his Weed Tour.

February 12, 2019 | 12 comments | Posted in Marijuana | Tags: , ,

By: Dan Bartkowiak

The first stop is in the bag for Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s Weed Tour, oops – his “Listening Tour” – and here are my takeaways from attending the tour stop in Harrisburg.

1. The tour is a public relations ploy aimed at giving the Wolf administration cover to support recreational marijuana.

Lt. Governor John Fetterman, in the middle of the meeting, made sure his cameraman was ready, and then asked for a show of hands of those supporting legalizing recreational marijuana followed by those opposed. He said he would do this at every meeting. He did this rather than take a tally as people walked in or — even better — simply relying on the comment cards placed  on every seat with an option to circle “Support” or “Oppose”. No — instead he put everyone on the spot (and on camera) for where they stand on this contentious issue. One woman complained to his staff at the end of the night about being put on the spot in this way, telling them that those sitting near her called her a loser and booed her when she raised her hand in opposition to legalization.

In my view, this tour is an effort by Lt. Gov. Fetterman to provide cover for  Governor Wolf if and when — perhaps in budget negotiations — he comes out in support of legalizing recreational marijuana. Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson, a spokeswoman for Lt Gov. Fetterman, says he intends to have his 67-county tour wrapped up by mid-June — just in time to coincide with the state’s June 30th budget deadline.

So for Dauphin County — with a population of over 275,000 — the crowd of around 150 was lopsided in favor of legalizing marijuana, with my unofficial estimate of those who spoke at the mic being 33-to-5 in favor of legalization.

2. Lt. Governor is trying [poorly] to hide his desire to legalize weed.

After a gentleman said he was in favor of recreational marijuana and that he was from Alaska, a state that has legalized recreational marijuana, Lt. Governor Fetterman chimed in (despite saying this event would not be a Q&A), “Would you classify Alaska as conservative or progressive?”

Then, when it came my time to speak, I directed attention to Lt. Governor Fetterman about his being quoted saying, “We should go full-on Colorado” in his support for legalizing recreational marijuana. He quickly interrupted me to clarify that he is not favoring any position at these events.

I then proceeded to list out a variety of harmful effects recreational marijuana has had on Colorado. My comments were written, contained to one page with 12-point font. There was no set time limit on speakers. People before and after me went longer but yet I was the only one he cut off before my concluding statement.

The elephant in the room is Lt. Governor feigning openness and impartiality despite his public statements for full-blown legalization.

3. Just as with expanded gambling, some state officials are motivated by the money in supporting marijuana legalization.

There were four seats on the stage but only two people were present there; Lt. Governor Fetterman and State Representative Patty Kim (D-Harrisburg). Rep. Kim gave some brief introductory comments, including:

“As I’m sitting in Appropriations hearings for the next three weeks or so, we have a $1.8 billion structural deficit. And so, I am open to hearing about any ideas that can give us reoccurring revenues to keep our state moving forward.

With Governor Wolf emphasizing “no new taxes” in his proposed budget this year, how are we going to pay for his over $34 billion spending plan? Lt. Governor’s “Listening Tour” absolutely shows their cards: legalizing recreational marijuana is going to be presented as a “solution” to not raising taxes. We’re going to need people across Pennsylvania encouraging our elected officials – especially legislative leaders – to withstand the pressure and stop full legalization.

4. The most repeated public comment: “No one has died from marijuana.”

There were different themes people throughout the night like people who have benefited from medicinal marijuana or the criminal and social injustice of not legalizing recreational marijuana. There was a mother of three who is joyous to smoke marijuana in the home because it controls her anxiety.

But the comment that I heard repeated three times verbatim, and received the biggest applause from the pro-marijuana crowd, was that no one has died from marijuana. That sounds a lot like the lies from Big Tobacco in years past.

In Colorado, traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled in 2017 (“The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado who tested positive for marijuana has risen sharply each year since 2013, more than doubling in that time…” – The Denver Post).

In 2017, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted that several children have stopped breathing and gone into comas after consuming marijuana. And a coroner listed “marijuana intoxication” from marijuana-infused cookies as a significant reason for the death of a 19-year-old college student from Wyoming who jumped to his death from a fourth-floor hotel. He had consumed an entire marijuana (THC) cookie, when you’re only supposed to eat a small fraction, right before the incident.

But you keep telling yourself that marijuana hasn’t killed anyone.

###

Here are upcoming stop locations on this Weed Tour. Will YOU plan to attend and take others with you?

  • Newport (Perry County): Tuesday, February 12th, 6pm – 7:30pm @ Newport Public Library, 316 N 4th Street
  • Mechanicsburg (Cumberland County): Wednesday, February 13, 6pm – 7:30pm @ American Legion Post 109, 224 W Main Street
  • Erie (Erie County): Saturday, February 16, 11am – 12:30pm @ Jefferson Educational Society, 3207 State Street
  • Warren (Warren County): Saturday, February 16, 3pm – 4:30pm @ Warren Public Library, 205 Market Street

Dan Bartkowiak is the Director of Communications for Pennsylvania Family Institute.

12 Comments

Kathy Hook

Hillsdale college has published an excellent article on dangers of legalizing marijuana. The article is available for free & can be printed.

Reply
C Willhite

I read this article, also, and found it very well written and informative. Here is the link for anyone interested: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/marijuana-mental-illness-violence/
When I was in high school, in the 80s, I did a research paper on the negative/long term effects of marijuana use. To the best of my knowledge, none of those effects have magically disappeared just because Gov’t officials are lured by ‘potential’ tax dollars. The state of our Commonwealth and it’s leadership is becoming frightening when they are seriously considering such stupidity. I agree with others who felt that the Governor’s office did not pay heed to concerned my email, but encouraged me to attend a Town Hall meeting to express myself. Not sure why they asked for email feedback on the issue if they only want people to attend an in-person meeting.

Reply
Larry E Huber

I am deeply suspect of all this push toward legalizing in any form. There may be legit ways to use as medicine, but to many of these folks are not content to limit medical use to forms that do not produce the high. This tour I can hardly believe to be anything more than a P.R. stunt. When did dems. start caring about public opinion? They simply figure pro legalization propaganda has done it’s job and they can use ignorant,or misinformed, public input to push there agenda.

Reply
Susan Poff

The police are not even able to get the drunken drivers off the roads and a lot of innocent people are killed as a result. This will only add to the danger on the roads, because like those drinking, those using marijuana will think they are “fine” too…and we (the innocent) will suffer the consequences! I am in favor of it for medical treatment, but those using it for medical are restricted in their driving and the substance is controlled.

Reply
Noelle Kim

A great source of information regarding the dangers of marijuana has just been released this month. It is called: Tell Your Children the Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. By Alex Berenson. This has amazing medical research and statistics that media is trying to hide. Please read this. The information is so powerful and worth sharing! Full disclosure: I have no financial gain for this book or the author. The negative outcomes must not be ignored, society is going down a very dangerous slope.

Reply
DOMENIC SAIA

ARE WE THIS STUPID ?Are you kidding there is nothing good about we introducing the use of ANY drug to our children we are better that that and you can take that to the Governor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply
Robert M Gehman

I am skeptical towards any push to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Will and honest view of facts be part of this “research”?

Reply
Eric Zimmerman

On March 26,2019,I attended this listening event in York. As I traveled there I was wondering why this event was held on a college campus ,at York College ? Lieutenant Governor Fetterman did not speak or give any kind of over view on this proposed issue other than to say that one should be respectful of all opinions & to limit your thoughts to approx. 90 seconds.
Noticed however from the beginning that those who mentioned personal faith,received a negative response from those attending & under breath comments
could be heard & laughed at when one was in opposition to this issue.
In short it was an 80/20 in favor of legalizing. There were several that spoke in favor that were not even from York county ? Were they traveling the county tour to increase the odds ?… It made me wonder. Of the 20 percent that opposed many important & notable points were brought up,however with only 20 percent opposed
it felt very much like a lost cause. My take away was two fold, one, where was the
church of believer”s at ? In my own experience,when reaching out, my Pastor & church friend ,no one could be bothered to join me in attending this event !
Many pat answers were given,which left me with many questions . Second, at the
close of the listening event it was mentioned that a gentleman in the back row was
going to speak,he was dressed in tye die clothing with hemp leaves on them. This
gentleman mentioned he was interviewed by local tv news & spoke why he was in
favor of legalization. After such the session was over. I left wondering if this listening
tour was simply a political dog & pony show & the decision has already been made ?
Never the less this issue at the least should be put on the ballet if we truly still live
in democratic state .

Reply
Nancy Seeger

I went to the one in Lancaster County. Downtown at a building used by nearby Millersville University. I heard they then held one in York at York College. Gee, what a surprise on the outcomes of the “polls” we’re reading about. If this method were used in a class it would get an “F”. The whole thing is most certainly a ploy and a deception. Contact, or visit, your representative and let them know you oppose it. Watch the video posted from Smart Approaches to Marijuana – an excellent presentation.

Reply
Na Wehrheim

Every teacher and college instructor knows that students who use weed are unable to perform decently. They are not motivated and they do not have the intelligence of non-weed users. Yes, IQ points are lost for users. NIDA: “A large longitudinal study in New Zealand found that persistent marijuana use disorder with frequent use starting in adolescence was associated with a loss of an average of 6 or up to 8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood.43 Significantly, in that study, those who used marijuana heavily as teenagers and quit using as adults did not recover the lost IQ points. “

Reply
Constance Stachelek

I am so disheartened by the very fact that our federal government is not doing anything to stop this mad desire to allow this dangerous trend toward a totally harmful and illegal activity. What is going on in this country when states can just decide to ignore the law and it’s pushed by activists who are louder then regular law abiding citizens. We have law enforcement people in our family, and they have arrested folks for this in the past after seeing how they act when under the influence. Someone help us and stop this madness. I contacted the governors office and was basically patted on the head and had the idea this is a done deal no matter what we think. These are the people who could ruin the lives of countless people just for the almighty dollar. Speak up PA and wake up.

Reply
David

I think everyone that thinks that if it’s legal it’s going to be all crazy in Pa. the facts are that people are using it and buying it all over the place and to think people are not driving while on it is crazy to, that’s what laws are for just like Alcohol and even if it’s not legal or not people are not going to stop it’s a fact so I think the state should make it legal and tax it and use the money for schools and everything else the state needs to do with the money and have strict laws in place and eventually it will b legal all over and people will drive to get and use it just like now somewhere else so why not do the right thing for Pa.

Reply

Leave a Reply to Noelle Kim Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *