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Pennsylvania Senate Race Becomes About Weed Legalization

Republican Dr Oz seems convinced an effective strategy is to attack Fetterman’s legalization stance

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The race for a U.S. Senate seat representing Pennsylvania is putting Cannabis policy reform in the spotlight, reports Marijuana Moment. The GOP candidate known best as Dr. Oz and the national Republican party seem to be convinced an effective line of attack is to challenge Democrat John Fetterman’s support for marijuana legalization.

The race between Republican Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov. Fetterman has become something of a political cage match. The rivals are battling it out on Twitter and elsewhere, where the campaigns have competed to score the best “own” on a daily basis.

But when it comes actual policy issues, the race has revealed a deep chasm between the candidates on marijuana-related issues.

Misleading Attacks From The RNC

Oz has mounted attacks on Fetterman over his long record of supporting drug policy reform. And the Republican National Committee (RNC) seems oddly preoccupied with the issue. The RNC is misleadingly casting the Democrat as a radical supporter of policies like legalizing heroin, for example. That’s a serious misrepresentation of Fetterman’s harm reduction support.

All of this is despite the fact that, in 2020, Oz himself called marijuana “one of the most underused tools in America.” Back then, Dr Oz said that the country should “completely change our policy on marijuana.”

In one new ad, the Oz campaign criticized Fetterman’s support for weed legalization with an animated video showing a bong coming out of the candidate’s head. “What’s this?” the narrator asks, coughing.

John Fetterman pot flag marijuana leader cannabis Pennsylvania senate candidate
Leaf Magazines Lt. Gov. John Fetterman with his pot flag

Dr Oz and Newt Gingrich Don’t Like John’s Pot Flag

Oz, a celebrity doctor who long hosted a daytime TV show, also appeared on Fox News and made dismissive comments about the “pot flag” that the lieutenant governor hung on the balcony of his Capitol office as he pushed for legalization in the Keystone State.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a good-old-boy Georgia Republican, also ran his lying, obnoxious mouth about the pot flag last month. Newt falsely claimed Fetterman used it to replace the American flag.

Numerous polls show growing, bipartisan support for ending Cannabis prohibition. One from 2021 that found 58 percent of Pennsylvanians back the policy. This makes the Republican idea that promoting an anti-legalization narrative would appeal to voters rather questionable, to put it mildly.

Fetterman Stands Firm

The Democratic nominee certainly hasn’t shied away from his drug policy reform platform. For example, Fetterman commented on his jealousy that New Jersey cannabis sales launched while Pennsylvania still hasn’t enacted legalization. And he’s continued making people aware of an expedited pardon process he advocates for people with “bullshit” marijuana convictions.

Fetterman serves as chair of the to state Board of Pardons. As such, he has named one of his key goals in his final year in office: Fetterman wants to ensure that as many eligible folks as possible submit applications to have the courts remove their cannabis records He also wants to restore opportunities to things like housing, student financial aid and employment through an expedited petition program.

“This is a plant that’s legal in many jurisdictions across America, and it’s not a big deal, but you go through your life in many cases a convicted felon, and that excludes you from a lot of opportunities,” Fetterman said prior to announcing his Senate run. “So I developed an expedited review process that I encourage everybody to partake in.”

Oz Claims The Democrat Is
”Soft On Crime”

Oz has also sought to depict Fetterman as a soft-on-crime candidate. For example, Oz misleadingly suggested that the Democrat wants to release one-third of the state’s prison population. In actuality, the lieutenant governor quoted the head of the Department of Corrections, who said that could be accomplished without risk to the public.

After Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf endorsed marijuana legalization, Fetterman also led a statewide listening tour to hear what residents had to say about the proposal. He highlights his role in that tour on his Senate campaign website.

He also talked about his work to “legalize weed for jobs, justice, veterans, farmers and revenue” in a fundraising email early this year.

Fetterman: Pennsylvanians Can Grow Better Weed

Fetterman previously said farmers in Pennsylvania can grow better marijuana than people in New Jersey. He named that as one reason why Pennsylvania should expeditiously reform its cannabis laws.

In 2020, he hosted a virtual forum where he got advice on how to implement a legal marijuana system from the lieutenant governors of Illinois and Michigan. Both those neighboring states have already enacted legalization.

Dr Oz says he hasn’t used cannabis and has not, despite one company’s claim, endorsed a line of CBD products.

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