PENNSYLVANIA: Any time you go to a civic event in Harrisburg that gives the public a chance to speak, odds are good that a graying, older woman named Ava Berg will show up and use the forum to advocate for her favorite cause, legalizing marijuana.
That’s what happened Thursday evening at Harrisburg Hope’s well-attended forum on promoting economic development, held at Hamilton Health Center, a sparkling new facility that is a point of pride in the struggling neighborhood of Allison Hill.
When Berg stepped up to the microphone, the panelists and most in the audience knew what was coming, and looked politely amused. Having heard her several times before, I did too – until she made this point:
Forty years ago, you could get arrested for playing the numbers. Now, she said, the lottery yields the state $3 billion dollars a year. (Her number is high for the lottery, but if you add in the state’s take from casino gambling, it’s pretty close to $3 billion.