Gov. Wolf: Decriminalize marijuana - ‘We break up families for reasons we shouldn't'

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf told Channel 11’s Cara Sapida on Tuesday that he thinks marijuana should be decriminalized.

“There are a lot of reasons to look at decriminalization. I think that’s something that I support," he said.

Wolf said the criminalization of this drug is ripping families apart.

“I believe, for a number of reasons, that we ought to decriminalize marijuana use. I think our prisons are over-crowded as a result of people going to jail for reasons that, you know, we break up families for reasons that we shouldn’t," Wolf said.


“We destroy lives and we make it hard to find employment. So often right now possession of a small amount is a felony and an employer looks at that and dismisses (the person) automatically.”

  • CLICK HERE to watch raw video of Gov. Wolf's comments

In addition, the governor said the use of medical marijuana should be up to the doctors.

“The legalization of medical marijuana -- I think we ought to allow doctors to prescribe. They’re the experts," Wolf said. "We ought to allow them to prescribe the treatments that they feel are best fitted to the challenges facing the person.”

The Pennsylvania state Senate's bill legalizing medical marijuana has landed in a House committee that is headed by a Republican who opposes the authorization of any drug without the federal government's approval first.

House Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker said Friday that he has no plans to take up the Senate's medical marijuana bill, or any other medical marijuana bill.

“I think we all need to continue broad, open conversation. This isn’t something we should just whisper about. There’s a lot of information and there’s more and more coming. And I’m just trying to make sure that democracy does what it’s supposed to do, and that is foster a very full and robust conversation so that when we make our decisions, whenever that is, we’re all in the position to have as much information as we can," Wolf said Tuesday.

The Tioga County lawmaker said Pennsylvania's Legislature has never approved a drug outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval process. Baker said his position is identical to the Pennsylvania Medical Society's stance.

House officials said Rep. Jim Cox of Berks County is drafting medical marijuana legislation that could eventually be amended into a separate bill outside of Baker's committee.