Fetterman brings marijuana discussion to Jim Thorpe
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman brought his listening tour on the legalization of recreational marijuana to Jim Thorpe Area High School on Monday night. HUNTRE KEIP/TIMES NEWS
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman visited Carbon County as part of his listening tour about the legalization of recreational marijuana on Monday evening.
The event was held in Jim Thorpe Area High School’s auditorium.
Approximately 60 people were in attendance. Interested speakers were given 90 seconds to voice their concerns to the lieutenant governor.
“Your opinions matter, that’s why we’re here,” Fetterman said.
There were multiple opinions during the discussion. The topics varied in support and against the use of recreational marijuana, including its connection with medical marijuana, distribution regulation and economic benefits.
One specific issue came from some residents of White Haven because of the production occurring in the medical marijuana facility in the area. The residents complained of the odor emitting from the facility.
“We don’t want our town to become unlivable,” John Zugarek, White Haven resident and borough council member, said. “We can’t open our windows on nice days because the odor is unbearable.”
Zugarek became part of the borough council after the facility opened in his hometown. He wants to work with legislatures and the lieutenant governor to effectively produce marijuana and keep White Haven residents satisfied.
“We’re a small town of 1,100 people, it’s hard to compete with big corporations,” Zugarek said.
Living in a small town became a common theme in Monday evening’s discussion. Mike Sofranko, the mayor of Jim Thorpe, is in favor of medical marijuana, but he wanted assurance from Fetterman in terms of recreational marijuana.
“As a small-town mayor, I hope you bring everyone to the table when you go back to our governor,” Sofranko said.
Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon, issued the following statement in reaction to Fetterman’s town hall. Heffley was in Harrisburg, where the House is currently in session, and unable to attend.
“I appreciate the open discussion and public debate on the topic of legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania, but we are in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and I believe the state should be concentrating its resources to address the drug crisis, which is impacting every community in the commonwealth.
“For example, there is still much work to be done regarding the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to provide doctors with additional information on the abuse of prescription medication. We also need to establish a statewide bed registry, through legislation I am sponsoring, so those struggling with addiction can get the treatment they need when they are ready to do so.”
Fetterman will conclude his listening tour in Bucks and Cameron counties along with four sessions in Philadelphia next week.
For more information about the lieutenant governor’s tour or to submit comments online, visit www.governor.pa.gov/recreational-marijuana-feedback.