Marijuana reform activists and advocates will march in Philadelphia on Sunday May 8, 2016 to celebrate significant progress for the issue. When the participants arrive at City Hall, Representative Jordan Harris will introduce a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill for Pennsylvania.
"As advocates gather it's important that we look at the next step that we move Pennsylvania in the right direction in how we deal with cannabis," said Rep. Harris.
The march begins at 3:30PM on the corner of 8th and Market streets then proceed to City Hall where speeches will commence at approximately 5:00PM.
Derek Rosenzweig of PhillyNORML, who is working with Rep. Harris on the bill, welcomed the opportunity to bring the issue forward in Harrisburg.
"The people of Pennsylvania deserve to see prohibition repealed now," said Rosenzweig, "We should be allowed to grow or use cannabis for personal use, legally. A common sense system of regulation can be put into place for adults who chose to consume cannabis."
Just weeks ago, state legislators passed a hemp research bill and Governor Tom Wolf signed a medical cannabis products bill into law.
Under a decriminalization policy enacted in late 2014, Philadelphia has reduced marijuana possession arrests by 80 percent and saved an estimated $4 million so far. This has inspired Pittsburgh to adopt a similar policy. Now Representative Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) is sponsoring a bill to bring decriminalization statewide.
PhillyNORML's annual event is part of the Global Cannabis March which takes place in hundreds of cities during the month of May. For nearly a decade the march was held on South Street, and during some years saw more than 1,000 people join.
Marijuana activist and comedian N.A. Poe is hosting an after-party for the march at Connie's Ric Rac, 1132 S. 9th St., starting at 7:00PM.
"I'm happy to be part of a community that continues to grow and prosper while winning hearts and minds along the way," said Poe.
The change of laws locally and around the country has spurred Philadelphia's cannabis community to become more visible and vocal.
"The last two years have seen local politics evolve by leaps and bounds when it comes to marijuana," said PhillyNORML board member Chris Goldstein, "Politicians see the public rallying to support cannabis reform and that is an important part of how this issue is winning."
Participants are asked to bring brightly colored signs - preferably green - and a bottle of water.
Source: Philly NORML