Lt. Gov. John Fetterman made a visit to Bucks County Community College Wednesday night as a part of his recreational marijuana listening tour. The lieutenant governor was joined by fellow local state senators and state reps to listen to the comments and concerns.
“This is the 65th county on our tour and we want to create an atmosphere where everyone shares their views,” Fetterman said. “Every view point needs to be respected.”
There was an hour allocated for people on each side to voice their opinion. This created a lot of passion in the room from local Bucks County residents.
Among supporters of the policy was Louise Sherman who was an advocate for medical marijuana.
“My daughter has epilepsy and medical marijuana has been a miracle for her. Legalization is critical for justice and medicine.”’
Fred Gaines, Chair of the Warrington Board of Supervisors voiced his opinion for decriminalization of marijuana.
“One-third of our budget is our police force and the costs keep going up. Whenever someone is caught with the drug, it takes an officer off the street when they could be responding to an accident. As far as low hanging fruit, we should decriminalize.”
Not everyone in attendance was sold on the idea, however. Public Safety Director of Bensalem Fred Harran spoke against legalization of recreational use.
“In Philadelphia, decriminalization led to a 12 percent increase in homicides, and according to the national institute of drug abuse marijuana is a gateway drug,” Director Harran continues the importance of not decriminalizing the drug. “We made a car stop on someone who was smoking marijuana and we busted a major opioid ring. If marijuana was legalized, those pills would be on the streets.”
Zachary Mahan, Executive Director of New Hope Solebery Cares is also skeptical about the idea of recreational marijuana.
“There are detrimental effects with youth use which is my main concern. There also is not enough data supporting or negating this decision. I would like to see more data and more research before a decision is made”
A vote at the end of meeting showed that the majority of the room supported recreational marijuana use.