The voters who packed a candidates’ forum in November — racially diverse progressive activists and union members from voter-rich Philadelphia — will have a big say in May’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Unsurprisingly, all five candidates up on stage played to the crowd, harshly criticizing Gov. Tom Corbett’s cuts to public education and his refusal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
But it was candidate John Hanger who electrified the activists, drawing the afternoon’s loudest and longest applause when he issued a call to reform the state’s marijuana laws.
“It’s time to legalize marijuana,” Hanger, a longtime figure in state government, told an ecstatic crowd at Temple University. “This is a question of justice. … African-Americans have been arrested at the rate of five times whites for marijuana possession. That’s why the schools-to-jails pipeline is full!”