Can Marijuana Make John Hanger Governor?

PENNSYLVANIA:  John Hanger might not be the first guy you’d think of to be the “pot candidate” in this year’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign: He’s a Penn Law grad who has held several reasonably high-profile state posts during his career.

Still, it’s Hanger’s aggressive pro-legalization stance that has come to define his candidacy. He both embraces that distinction — believing it might get him the numbers to win the Democratic primary — and eschews it, saying that he’s got plans and proposals to address a host of issues afflicting the state.

Talk to him, and you might find yourself suspecting Hanger could benefit from a toke or two. He can be frenetic in conversation, packing thousands of words and many ideas into a compact space, as though he were racing to beat an invisible timer. And that’s when he’s focused on the conversation — he interrupted his phone call with Philly Mag last week to do campaign business, offering buttons and bumper stickers to supporters. “We’re going to knock those elites out of office,” he promised.

Your campaign put up billboards in a couple of Pennsylvania towns urging voters to legalize and tax marijuana now. Do you think marijuana legalization can be the cornerstone to winning a statewide campaign in Pennsylvania?

Absolutely — this issue involves the lives of two million Pennsylvanians. Some folks say, “Marijuana is not a voting issue, it’s not important.” Tell that to the 500,000 Pennsylvanians who have conditions that are treated with cannabis in 20 states.  Tell that to the moms I was with this morning, who have children who are suffering from Dravet Syndrome, whose lives are hanging in the balance. They want marijuana for their children and for them it is the only issue.

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