Pennsylvania Taking Right Approach In Marijuana Discussions

Why can’t New York be more like Pennsylvania?

It’s something we hear a lot here in Chautauqua County, particularly in areas like ours where the Pennsylvania border is just a stone’s throw away. It crossed the minds of editorial board members last week when news reports surfaced from Pennsylvania that Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman would launch a statewide listening tour to all 67 counties in the state to hear state residents’ thoughts on the possible legalization of marijuana within the state. Having a hearing in each county will make it much easier for any Pennsylvanian with a strong opinion either way on marijuana legalization to make their thoughts known. And the public face to the discussion is the state’s second-in-command, acting with the full weight of the governor’s office.

Compare that to New York, which held a series of 18 listening sessions throughout the state, though Chautauqua County residents interested in having a say had to travel all the way to Buffalo rather than a site in Mayville, Dunkirk or Jamestown or send their thoughts by email or letter to the state Health Department. The hearings were led by a consultant to the governor, though state legislators were often in attendance — but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul were able to stay an arm’s length away from discussions taking part in the heat of the election season.

We’re sure Fetterman won’t like everything he hears on his listening tour of Pennsylvania, but we applaud him for taking the trip and listening to opinions that are likely to be much different than his own. When it comes to openness, we wish New York could be more like Pennsylvania.