Recently in the news for having a widely-publicized stroke just days before the Pennsylvania primary, the current Democratic Party front runner for the state's contentious US Senate race, John Fetterman has at least one legislative priority that sets him far apart from his opponent, Conor Lamb: His unapologetic record for supporting marijuana legalization.
As Fetterman noted in a December 2020 op-ed in the Washington Post, many Democrats haven't kept up with public opinion on legalizing weed.
"Not only isn’t weed “taboo,” but everyone wants to talk about it. It might be the most hotly discussed public policy topic in our commonwealth over the past 50 years," Fetterman said.
"Yet one group doesn’t seem to be keeping up: the Democratic Party. Its platform on weed is now officially and politically to the right of the state of South Dakota. I’m in the camp that says that if you’re to the right of South Dakota on anything, you should use that as a moment to recalibrate your core values."
As Politico notes, "Fetterman is arguably the nation’s most outspoken pro-weed politician" and if you "head over to Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s website, or drop by one of his rallies, and that’s what you’ll find. 'It’s high time that we get our sh*t together and legalize weed in PA + USA. More justice, jobs, revenue, and freedom,' the top-selling T-shirt’s description reads."
Fetterman is betting his support for legal weed will help secure his spot on the ballot in November.
"Political strategists say a bold position on cannabis could be an important piece of a winning policy portfolio for both the primary and general elections in a race that will help determine control of the Senate. Progressives respond well to it — but even more than that, marijuana may do something very important in a state where election margins are razor-thin: bring new voters to the polls."
Should Fetterman win the primary, it's thought he'd face off against Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz in November's general election.
In an April interview, Oz drew controversy by saying that he had "strong sentiments against the legalization of marijuana because we already have a problem with getting young people to work."
“And if you build a psychological addiction, right, that tells people you can’t get through the day unless you smoke a joint, which is what Fetterman is saying is okay, we’re going to have even fewer people engaged in life and they lose their dignity when that happens," Oz said.
Pennsylvanians go to the polls today, which close at 8 p.m. ET tonight.