Here’s what the Pa. guv candidates say about marijuana laws.
State Treasurer Rob McCord:
My view on this issue is more complex than just “support” or “oppose.” Given that my parents were both academics, I am constantly driven by the quest for knowledge and information. The move to make marijuana legal in other states is a relatively new phenomenon. I hope to learn more from their experience. I believe we must carefully evaluate the data, assess the risks and potential for revenues, and examine the possible social externalities before arriving at any decision. My instinct is that data will show improved policy around marijuana will save money on corrections, increase tax revenues, create jobs, and increase freedom.
York County businessman Tom Wolf:
I support the legalization of medical marijuana. We should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy. I also support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Our court and probation systems are being clogged with offenders convicted of possessing minor amounts of marijuana – making possession of one ounce or less a civil offense can help us save millions of dollars that can be directed to prevention and rehabilitation programs.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz:
Marijuana possession has been over-criminalized, and existing laws have been applied unequally. We should not be filling our jails for simple possession of marijuana. As governor, I will work with stakeholders to reduce the criminalization of this offense, and I will sign legislation that legalizes medical marijuana.
Former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty:
I oppose legalization of marijuana for recreational use, but I support reforming our drug laws that needlessly lead to the incarceration of Pennsylvanians for relatively minor offenses. It is critical that we invest in drug prevention and treatment programs to keep children from turning to drugs and for helping people overcome their addictions rather than sending them to prison. I also strongly support the “second chance” legislation.
I do support allowing access to medical marijuana in situations of medical necessity, as has been suggested in some seizure disorders and cancers. Note that this is different than just a recommendation by a doctor. I believe that a higher qualifying standard is needed to allow the access to medical marijuana for medical necessity, much like New York Governor Cuomo’s plan.
Montgomery County businessman Robert Guzzardi:
The science about the value of medical marijuana is ambivalent and inconclusive. Oncologists have not advocated using medical marijuana. I will defer to science on this issue.
Colorado is experimenting with legalized marijuana. Let us see how it works out. I think it will end badly but I may be wrong.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett did not complete our questionnaire. But he recently came out in support of a marijuana extract to teach children.