Lt. Governor welcomed Allentown community members while stopping at Muhlenberg on his statewide listening tour. Melissa Reph / The Muhlenberg Weekly

Muhlenberg College hosted the thirty-first stop in Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s statewide tour on Saturday, Apr. 6. Fetterman has been travelling county by county to hear constituents’ opinions on the topic of cannabis legalization.

“I think it’s great to be in the same room with people that may or may not agree with you on any single view,” opened Fetterman. This set the tone for a forum of open and respectful dialogue, where citizens did the talking and lawmakers kept quiet and listened.

The tour is designed to allow Pennsylvania citizens to give direct feedback as the state looks at the possibility of designing new legislature around legalizing recreational cannabis, a topic of discussion since the legalization of medical marijuana in 2016.

In an interview with The Weekly, Fetterman emphasized that he is on a listening tour of the state to hear people’s views and concerns before moving forward on any legislation. During Saturday’s listening stop at Muhlenberg, a community member asked questions of Fetterman and the state representatives with him. “I’m not here to answer questions. We’re here simply to hear what your views are on recreational cannabis use for adults in Pennsylvania,” asserted Fetterman.

“I think that there’ve been a lot of sides,” Fetterman said of his tour so far. For example, while he has met people who oppose recreational usage, they are usually in favor of universal decriminalization of cannabis.

He added that Muhlenberg was the first stop where no one raised their hand saying they opposed legalization. “Our staff analyzes every single comment card, every comment online,” said Fetterman, explaining that the results of this listening tour will be shared with Gov. Tom Wolf and made available to the public.

Fetterman said that he would love to do more listening tours on other issues during his term and that he’s enjoying this tour so far. “I’d rather spend time out on the road than stuck behind a desk,” he said. “I like being in a room with people with converging views.”

While in his new role as lieutenant governor, he said he has enjoyed “helping be a force for change” since his officiation in January.

Fetterman offered some advice for Muhlenberg students. “It’s so important for college students to be fully [politically] engaged,” he said. “They know what they want and they know what they need better than anyone. It’s so critical, the higher the percentage of college students that vote. You can really shake the conversation.”

Melissa writes and reports for News and the OpEd column Graphic Opinions. A senior majoring in political science; when not in class you can find her working in the College's Special Collections and Archives or on her independent study on music education advocacy.



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