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John Fetterman’s (D) marijuana and LGBTQ flags are fluttering again in his Capitol office after state officials removed them Monday night, allegedly at the behest of some GOP lawmakers who care deeply about the activist decor.

The day after they were removed, the lieutenant governor proudly announced on Twitter that he had restored the flags – one with rainbow motifs and the other with cannabis leaves.

“I really can’t stress this enough, my problem isn’t with the people who have come to take them off. They’re kind of in the thick of it, so they’re not, ”Fetterman said of Marijuana Moment. “But the Pennsylvania GOP put enough pressure and drama on them that they felt they had to do something, and they took them down. When I realized that, I just put it back up. “

I even had to put it on. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/NPuADtb1Lt

– John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) January 26, 2021

The flags have been an unusual source of controversy for some members of the legislature. In November, Republican legislature passed a budget bill that included a provision for its cannabis-themed office decor so that only the American flag, the flag of Pennsylvania, and those honoring missing soldiers could be displayed in the Capitol.

It’s a little flattering that they changed Pennsylvania law just for me. 🥺👉👈

Speaking of changes in the law …

I’ll take them off when we get:

⬛️🟫🟥🟧🟨🟩🟦🟪 https://t.co/B8XMXqcVZJ

– John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) November 20, 2020

“There is a great way to get rid of them for good and we can end this,” said the lieutenant governor. And that by passing a legal reform.

“It shouldn’t have to be like that. These are not controversial things. These are basically American things. It’s related to freedom. It’s related to individuality. It’s jobs. It’s income, ”he said. “These are not controversial, but these flags are. For the party that thinks it’s okay to talk about how a safe election has been rigged, they have really thin skins when it comes to free expression. “

A spokesman for the State Department of General Services confirmed to Marijuana Moment that it was tasked with removing the flags “in order to comply with Section 1724-E of the Tax Code.” When asked if lawmakers from the Republican majority of the legislature had influenced the recent action, the representative repeated, “All I can say is that the Department of General Services removed the flag to comply with Section 1724-E of the Tax Code.”

Marijuana Moment reached out to the Senate Majority Leader’s and Parliament’s Spokesperson’s offices for comment, but representatives made no response at the time of publication.

For Fetterman, a longtime marijuana reform advocate who is considering a run for the U.S. Senate, defying the flag order is natural. His enthusiastic embrace of the subject has often put him in the spotlight, and he said he would take that endorsement to Congress if he ultimately gets to race and be elected.

“I am the only person who has called out to my own party for its failure to accept it when it is appropriate,” he said, referring to his repeated criticism of the Democratic National Committee’s rejection of a platform for legalization. “There has never been a more committed advocate to end these terrible plant superstitions for the United States.”


– John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) January 26, 2021

On his campaign website, the lieutenant governor promotes his role in leading an audio tour of the state soliciting public input on policy change. He noted that after his efforts, Governor Tom Wolf (D) “announced his support for legalization for the first time”.

However, it remains to be seen when legalization will take place in Pennsylvania. Despite Fetterman and Wolf’s support for legalization and the pressure they put on lawmakers, persuading Republican lawmakers to go along with the plan remains a challenge.

Fetterman previously told Marijuana Moment that reform could continue through the governor’s budget proposal. In the meantime, however, the government is reviewing the constitutionality of issuing “excuses for certain convictions and charges of marijuana.”

Since Wolf took a position on legalization in 2019, he has repeatedly urged lawmakers to make the policy change. He stressed that the marijuana reform could generate tax revenue to aid the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and that ending criminalization was necessary for social justice.

In September, he dug into the Republican-controlled legislature for failing to respond to reforms in the previous session. And in August, he suggested that the state could potentially control the sale of marijuana itself, rather than just licensing private retailers as other legalized jurisdictions have done.

Fetterman previously said that farmers in his state can grow better marijuana than people in New Jersey – where voters approved a referendum on legalization in November – and that’s one reason Pennsylvania should be quick to reform its cannabis laws.

He also hosted a virtual forum where he could get advice on how to effectively implement a cannabis system from the Lieutenant Governors of Illinois and Michigan who passed legalization.

Shortly after the governor announced he was in favor of the policy change, a lawmaker tabled a bill to legalize marijuana through a state model.

A majority of Senate Democrats sent Wolf a letter in July arguing that lawmakers should continue changing policy to generate revenue to offset losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of Twitter / John Fetterman.

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