Gov. Wolf, Lt. Gov. Fetterman Announce Report, Next Steps After Adult-Use Recreational Marijuana Tour September 25, 2019 Press Release, Recreational Marijuana Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Governor John Fetterman today held a press conference to announce the final report from the Lt. Gov’s statewide recreational marijuana tour and proposed next steps as a result of input from thousands of Pennsylvanians who attended a listening session or submitted input via an online form.“The Lt. Gov. made good on his promise to visit all 67 counties to hear from Pennsylvanians about whether or not they support the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana in the state,” Gov. Wolf said. “And among the many who voiced their opinions, the majority supported legalization.”In addition to the public and media, all local elected officials were invited to each tour stop. By a show of hands, a majority of attendees supported legalization in all but a handful of counties. Key takeaways from the tour are included in the report.The report is comprised of two sections. The first section examines the volumes of correspondence received through an online form hosted on the governor’s website, remarks made, and comment cards received at tour stops, and all other comments received by the lieutenant governor’s office in various formats.It includes a county-by-county breakdown of support and opposition, including the most common arguments received for and against legalization during the tour.The second section highlights positive and negative results of legalization among individual states where recreational marijuana has been legalized.Lt. Gov. Fetterman said he appreciates the comments from thousands of Pennsylvanians he met during the tour, and those who forwarded their comments through the online form and via other means.“We’ve heard you, and this announcement today is our earnest effort to bring about the changes you’ve told us you want,” Fetterman said.In addition to announcing the report, Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman called for three actions:1. Asking the legislature to get a bill to the governor’s desk that decriminalizes non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses.2. Seeking a path to restorative justice through the expungement of past convictions of non-violent and small cannabis-related crimes.3. Calling on the General Assembly to seriously debate and consider the legalization of adult-use, recreational marijuana.“We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” Gov. Wolf said. “I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together, especially the criminal justice reforms I am proposing today, which will have an immediately positive influence on thousands of families across Pennsylvania.“Thank you again to Lt. Gov. Fetterman for conducting this important research, and to all the Pennsylvanians who took the time to attend a tour stop, write a letter or make a phone call to make their opinion known.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
By Shemuel FanfairIt was high drama again at Belle Vue, West Bank Demerara on Thursday when farmers blocked the Belle Vue Cane Farmers Marketing Co-op Society Chairman’s machinery from clearing farmlands they say has rightfully been theirs for more than 60 years. However, as the events unfolded, popular businessman Deodat Deokinandan, who has been chair of the society since 2013, denied ever threating the farmers as he accused them of squatting on the Society’s land.The intense emotions played out during the morning hours in a usually quiet community which lies near the defunct Wales Sugar Estate. Farmers were adamant that the Co-op Society and Deokinandan, called “Beard Man”, would not touch an inch of the farmland as they blocked an excavator from land clearing operations as they renewed claims of being bullied. This stemmed from an initial stand off from Sunday afternoon after the Society opted to fence sections of the lands and allow cows to graze in the fields which was incensed farmers over their loss of investment.Police ranks called in to settle tensions that erupted on Thursday“He bully us and take the number three section; now we got all this cultivation here and he bullying us for the number four section but we nah decide for this hymac go in one inch here; it got to come out because he taking advantage on us because he has money. He want walk pon all these poor people but this is the end of everything,” farmer Imraz Hassan declared as he stood in front of the hymac.He made his position clearly known when ranks from the Wales Police Station arrived on the scene in a bid to settle escalating tensions. When tensions were less animated on Sunday, one rank had spoken with the sparring farmers that he wanted to preserve law and order but Thursday’s face-off saw a more boisterous demonstration.“This hymac come here illegally. This is not “Beard Man’s” property; this is the Society’s property and this land belongs to the Government of Guyana. We are farmers’ children that lived here for 60-odd years,” Rampertab Rajpat told this newspaper as he told stood in front of the heavy-duty machine.After sugar operations ceased, descendants of Belle Vue farmers moved to plant diversified crops but the businessman, along with several of his central committee members, categorised the demonstrators as squatters.SquattingThe Society provided documents purporting to show that many of the farmers allegedly sold their shares to the society while others supposedly relinquished their lands for the society to operate.“I am never a bully and will never be a bully. These people come illegally and squat on the Society’s land and it is not the right thing to do and dem ah seh de President tell them to do that… I don’t know who is the real bully but these people already take compensation from the Society; some in 2011 and some in 2014,” Deokinandan explained.Aggrieved farmer Rampertab RajpatHe says the cows grazing in the lands fenced off are legally placed since this was passed during a general meeting of the Society. He also denied claims that he has been threatening the farmers at Belle Vue. Society Secretary Antoinette Manichand meanwhile said many of the farmers were errant members and were taken to arbitration for not paying their share of fees in land rentals to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). She observed that it would be unfair for the Society’s contributing members to offset the costs for those who were not paying their dues. It was earlier explained by members that the descendants were reportedly no longer interested in cultivating sugar cane.“The arbitrator gave them a month and a half to pay off their debts and they didn’t pay up so gradually we expelled them and we accepted new members but they going about reaching Government officials until the matter reached the Cabinet with Dr Roger Luncheon. We had a meeting with them and they agree to accept compensation,” she said.Another scene from the heated stand-off which left the hymac suspendedShe also claimed one such farmer was Francis Ferreira who was allegedly paid $290,000 in compensation; a cheque made out in the name of the businessman, while others were paid hundreds of thousands and some over a million dollars for their fields. She provided documents to this effect. Guyana Times spoke to an unmoved Ferreira who outright denied giving up his land rights.“I aint give up no rights; its three years after bullying that people accept money due to frustration… the Cabinet minutes said the farmers should be reinstated. I am prepared to go, this hymac is going to walk over me today!” expressed Ferreira.However, the machine was removed from the area just before lunchtime. Thereafter the farmers moved to protest the Co-Op Society in the afternoon. Nevertheless, the grazing cows and fences erected could remain in place as the society maintained that since farmers lost their rights it does not intend to pay compensation for the crops they have been planting since 2017. Deokinandan held out that he, nor his society, is obligated to pay any compensation owing to the farmers “squatting” on the land.The Co-op Society shows that Ganpat Rajpat was paid $1.5 million in compensationThe Belle Vue farmers are descendants of multiple sugar cane workers turned farmers who came from all across Guyana and were contracted with Bookers company to supply canes to Wales and live in the Belle Vue Pilot Scheme from 1956. Cane operations ended with Government’s closure of Wales Estate in December 2016.