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Welcome! The Keystone Cannabis Coalition is a non-profit 501(C) 4 corporation. Our goal is to advance cannabis and hemp reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as quickly as...

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Upcoming Events ACTION ALERT! ALL HANDS ON DECK! BIG RALLY TO LEGALIZE CANNABIS ON SEPTEMBER 24! Mark your calendars. Keystone Cannabis Coalition is partnering with Lehigh Valley...

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For Best Chance of Legalizing Cannabis in Pa: Pull the Lever Straight Democrat

Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Blog

Maybe you are a Democrat. Maybe you are a Republican. Maybe you are a Libertarian or Green. Then again, maybe you’re an anarchist or simply apathetic or apolitical. Maybe you couldn’t care less about politics. I want to talk to all of you and tell you the truth about how we stand the best chance of legalizing cannabis in Pennsylvania.

In short, we recommend voting straight Democrat this year.

Now, I know that for some of you who read this, you would never base your vote on just one issue alone. It’s good to consider a broad spectrum of economic, political, cultural and societal issues and come to a reasoned conclusion.

Keystone Cannabis Coalition is not fighting to end property taxes, roll back environmental regulations, privatize the prisons, “put prayer back in the schools”, go full force with fracking, ban abortion, dismantle the public schools and put everyone in private charter, religious or corporate schools, break up the unions or any of those issues. If we were, we’d be telling people to vote Republican. To people who value those issues over and above cannabis legalization then they will vote Republican.

KCC is a cannabis legalization organization so we have the responsibility not to tell you the best way to get tax reform or crack down on the immigrants but to tell you the best way to get cannabis legalization and that is by voting for Democrats.

Now, you might say, “What have the Democrats ever done for us?”

That’s a fair question. Let’s see what the Democrats of Pennsylvania have done for us.

Who remembers the fight we waged together to win decrim in Philadelphia? After a year-long campaign of civil disobedience we got Democratic city councilman Jim Kenney to introduce a decrim ordinance, it was passed by a Democratic council and signed by a Democratic mayor. Now that councilman is Mayor and he supports the full legalization of cannabis. Democratic District Attorney Larry Krasner is not even prosecuting cannabis offenses anymore.

When we passed decrim in Harrisburg it was introduced by a Democratic councilwoman. Worked on and improved by a Democratic city council and signed by a Democratic mayor.

When decrim was passed in Pittsburgh it was introduced by Democrats and signed by a Democratic mayor.

When we passed Decrim in York it was introduced by a Democratic councilman and signed by a Democratic mayor.

When decrim was passed in State College it was introduced by a Democrat, passed by a Democratic council and signed by a Democratic mayor.

When decrim was passed in Erie it was introduced by a Democratic councilman, passed by the Democratic city council and was signed by the Democratic mayor.

In Easton a Democratic councilman is introduced a decrim ordinance and was initially supported by the Democratic mayor. Though the ordinance was declined by one vote Easton passed a resolution of support for statewide decrim.

When decrim was passed in Allentown it was introduced by a Democratic City Councilwoman, passed by the Democratic council and signed by the Democratic mayor.

Decrim was introduced by a Democrat in Bethlehem, passed by the Democratic city council and signed by the Democratic mayor.

In Reading, we got a decrim ordinance introduced by two Democratic council members. The ordinance was dropped in favor of a resolution supporting statewide decrim and the Democratic council passed it.

In Lancaster, we got the ordinance introduced by Democrats, passed by the Democratic city council and signed into law by the Democratic mayor.

Everyone knows that the full legalization of cannabis is supported by the Auditor General of Pennsylvania, Eugene DePasquale. Guess what, he’s a Democrat. He’s out there fighting for legalization constantly.

All five of the Democrats who ran for Lt. Governor of Pa. supported legalization of cannabis. The winner, John Fetterman, was the most gung-ho of them all saying that Pennsylvania should go “Full Colorado”. If he wins, he will be the number two man in Pennsylvania, a sort of right-hand man to Governor Wolf.

So far, all the legalization bills ever introduced into the Pa. legislature and every single legislator who signed onto those bills as cosponsors have been Democrats. Jake Wheatley is our new champion in the House with HB2600 and at last glance he has 14 Democratic cosponsors though the legislation is so new you can smell the ink.

In fact, as of September of 2017 it is the official policy of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Party to support the full legalization of cannabis and candidates who support it. The resolution is fairly radical, written by a veteran of Philly NORML, Derek Rosenzweig. If you want to know what the official policy is as written, you can read it here.

Now, I know you might be saying, “Hey, what about medical cannabis? That was a bipartisan effort, you know!”

Yeah, it was bipartisan but here are some facts about the whole effort. From 2009 until 20013 the fight was on for medical cannabis legalization and it was entirely led by Democrats. There were zero Republicans that would touch it with a ten foot pole.

The bills of mmj that were introduced by the Democrats In both the House and the Senate both had home grows, full plant right from the outset and lightly regulated. No Republican would go along with that.

Enter our first Republican hero – Mike Folmer. Folmer caught the world by surprise. Republicans gasped. No one could believe it. They braced themselves to see what would happen and saw Mike elevated to rock star status. Other Republicans jumped in and before long the majority of them joined in.

Of course, the only way the Republicans would get onboard is if they could cut out home grows, cut out actually cannabis buds, make it oils only and regulate the whole thing tighter than a frog’s ass.

When the bill came up for a vote every single Democrat voted Yes. All of our most vehement opposition came from Republicans. Who could ever forget Matt Baker? Or the time when the Republican Speaker Mike Turzai broke down crying when he realized medical cannabis would win? There were more than 40 No votes and every single one of them came from Republicans.

So yeah, it was bipartisan, sort of, but if the Democrats would have had their way we would have won six years earlier and we’d be growing our own.
Let’s not forget where we were just four short years ago. Why would we ever go back to that time when Republican Governor Tom Corbett ruled over us? We have zero chance back then at medical cannabis. Zero chance at industrial hemp. Zero chance at decrim and not a chance in Alabama of legalizing it.

Governor Wolf had to win four years ago. Had he not have won we’d be in big trouble. We still would not have medical cannabis, we still would not have industrial hemp and he may have decided to crack down on the cities that have enacted decrim ordinances. Governor Wolf supports statewide decrim and he has encouraged cities to take the lead as he tries to steer the state in that direction. Having a supportive governor has definitely encouraged and emboldened cities to take action.

Now, I have to say, when it comes to industrial hemp there was a true and completely bipartisan effort. If you count the votes in the state senate and the house, the vote was 233-0! That means that every single Democrat and every single Republican voted Yes for hemp. That was a truly remarkable achievement but it could have only been done by having a governor and an administration that supported hemp legalization and before Wolf we never did before.

Is there more good news about Pennsylvania Republicans?

Yes, slightly. The majority of them now support the decrim-light bill introduced by Berks County Republican, Barry Jozwiak – HB928. It recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee where it had been held up for more than 18 months. It passed 20-4. Once again, every Democrat voted Yes and every No vote came from Republicans.

Still, it is impressive to note that the majority of Republicans currently support HB928, a definite step in the right direction. Impressive that is until you realize that only ONE Republican supported the much better Democratic bill introduced by Rep. Ed Gainey – HB195. That bill had 24 cosponsors, all of them Democrats but one. It wasn’t punitive enough though for the Republicans. They would only get onboard if the fine was raised by hundreds of dollars and a third strike escalation to misdemeanor.

That’s the typical path for Republicans. They will resist all cannabis reform that is supported by Democrats. They will resist and resist until they can tell that resistance will cost them politically. Then, they support the idea but only if the bills can be watered down and made more punitive or more restrictive.
On the bright side, seeing how Republicans supported industrial hemp, evolved on medical cannabis and evolved now on the decrim-light issue, I can foresee a possibility anyway that they will come around to supporting full legalization and home grows. Eventually. That time is not now though.
Currently, zero Republicans in the entire Pa. legislature support legalizing cannabis!

Say what? How many Republicans support full legalization of cannabis?

Zero. Zip. Nada. None. Not a damn one of them.

Okay, I think we can count on two Republicans who would vote Yes although neither one of them will say so publicly, afraid of their Republican leadership and their Republican constituents.

Zero Republicans in the House support legalization and zero Republicans support legalization in the senate. Zero Republicans have signed on as cosponsors to legalization bills and zero Republicans have publicly supported legalization. ALL of our support comes from Democrats and it is absolutely real. Pa. Dems have a record of delivering for us.

The Republican candidate for governor is Scott Wagner. He is VEHEMENTLY opposed to full legalization of cannabis and won’t even say he supports decrim, only that he is “open to considering it”. He says that if a legalization bill hits his desk he would veto it without consideration.

Wagner would be disastrous to our cause because it wouldn’t only be just him. He would bring in an entire new administration and this man who is so hostile to cannabis legalization would be surrounded by hardcore prohibitionists at all levels. The current mmj program would be handed over to the right-wingers. Is that what we want to happen? We can’t and we must not let that happen.
Republicans control everything in Harrisburg.

Right now the Republicans have a super-majority in the state senate. They have an overwhelming majority in the state house. They control every single committee. They control the entire legislative agenda. They decide which bills get considered, which bills die, which get passed and which bills fail. None of them support legalization now and if Scott Wagner is elected they will stay hardened in their opposition for possibly the next eight long years. We can’t take that chance.

Some of you might hate Democrats. Keep in mind that if you live in a gerrymandered district usually won by Republicans you can rest assured that your representative is safe. It’s tough to root out incumbents.

Ninety percent of all incumbents win, so most Republicans and most Democrats are safe. The Republicans have such an overwhelming advantage that voting Democrat is not going to magically transform the entire political landscape. The Republicans are still going to control the state legislature next year. Electing a few more Democrats is not going to cause some kind of socialist revolution but it will give us a slightly better chance at legalization.

The election is next Tuesday, November 6. Make sure you get out and vote. If cannabis legalization is your most important issue we recommend voting straight Democrat. If other issues are more important to you, well, then vote your conscience but know you are voting to stick daggers into the legalization movement.

In one week the election will be over and we will have to work with whoever wins. We will conduct our political campaign in a completely non-partisan fashion because we MUST convince Republicans to support legalization or we have no chance. Currently we have zero Republicans onboard for legalization. That has to change. In the meantime, vote Democrat if you want even half a chance.

~Les Stark, Executive Director, KCC
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Pennsylvania Primary Day – VOTE CANNABIS!

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Blog

Ladies and gentlemen, today is an important day for cannabis reform in Pennsylvania and it is time for YOU to get out and vote for pro-cannabis candidates in today’s primary elections.

“What? Are there pro-cannabis candidates in Pennsylvania? You bet!

 The most important race today for those of us who want to see cannabis legalized in Pennsylvania is the race for Lt. Governor.

Four years ago we endorse the current Lt. Governor Mike Stack because when he was in the state senate he introduced a bill for statewide decriminalization of cannabis. He just started saying that we should look at other states that have legalized cannabis.

If Mike Stack wins it will not be a disaster for us but our cause is not a passion for him. For John Fetterman, cannabis legalization is a passion. He has gone out of his way to meet with leaders and members of the Pa. cannabis movement and has been outspoken in his support for not only our cause but many related issues of social justice. He’s got our backs and we’ve got his.

Governor Wolf is a strong supporter of decriminalization but he has been “on the fence” when it comes to full legalization. Electing John Fetterman to be his running mate in November will be a HUGE wakeup call and shakeup the entire state in a very positive way for us! Fetterman will get Wolf off the fence and take us into the future.

Shawn Mauck for State Senate: 28th District – If you live in the district that includes the city of York you have the opportunity to elect a good man to the state senate to fill the seat vacated by State Senator Scott Wagner, who dropped out to run for governor. Mauck is the current Mayor of West York and last year put up the good fight to decriminalize cannabis in the borough. As State Senator, Mauck will fight for us to fully legalize cannabis in the Keystone State. He’s got our back and we’ve got his.

Gary Wegman for Congress, 9th District – The 9th district poses a dilemma for us. There isn’t just one pro-cannabis candidate but two! Both Gary Wegman and his opponent Laura Quick support full legalization of cannabis on a federal level. The third Democratic opponent does not. So we have to decide between Gary Wegman and Laura Quick. We give Wegman the nod because he was quoted in national media supporting legalization, though if Laura Quick wins we will celebrate her victory too!

Erin Vecchio for State Representative, 32nd District – Eric Vecchio is challenging longtime incumbent state Rep. Anthony DeLuca. Erin supports the full legalization of cannabis.

 

Madeleine Dean for Congress, 4th District – We need to put Madeleine Dean in Congress. She supports federal decriminalization and is receptive to full legalization. We endorse her candidacy.

 

Joe McGurk for State Representative, 10th District – Joe and his wife were activists for medical cannabis in the state.

Write in Lou Jasikoff for State Rep., 117th District

Write in Jay Sweeney for Pa. Senate, 20th District

Joe McGurk – Beaver County, 10th District. He and his wife have also been advocates of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania because two of their four children have a form of epilepsy that can be treated by medicinal cannabis.

Those are the main cannabis candidates we want to see win today so get out there and vote! We will have a more comprehensive cannabis voters’ guide for the November elections.

~Les Stark, Executive Director

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Pa. Cannabis Reform Action Alert: May Month of Action

Posted by on May 4, 2018 in Blog

This month we are marking a grim anniversary. We are coming up on the 85 year anniversary of “marihuana” prohibition in Pennsylvania. It is a war that has damaged the lives of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE since 1933.

It is fitting that on this 85 year anniversary month that cannabis reform is proceeding at a feverish pace. There are very important things happening throughout the state and therefore I am issuing this urgent call to action to all members of the cannabis reform community and all concerned citizens who have absolutely had enough of this madness.

On May 8, Allentown City Council will be considering the adopting one of the most progressive cannabis decriminalization ordinances in the state. Those caught with up to an ounce of cannabis will be charged with a summary offense and given a $25 fine. Second offense is $50, third offense is $100 and fourth offense is either $150 or 8 hours of community service.

Allentown City Council will meet Tuesday, May 8 at 6pm in Allentown Council Chambers (at City Hall on Hamilton at 5th St).

Allentown is the third largest city in Pennsylvania so we cannot overemphasize the importance of passing this ordinance. It will be a HUGE step forward and it will cause the dominoes to fall and accelerate the rate of change on a state level.

We need all hands on deck in order to show overwhelming support. We need our best, brightest and most articulate to be willing to speak in favor of the ordinance, to share their stories and sufferings because of the current law. For those not confident enough to speak, don’t worry we need YOU too. Never underestimate the power of simply showing up.

We recommend that those attending dress respectable and those speaking should maintain respect to all members of council. Local residents are the most effective, though people not from the area may still be able to help make a compelling case.

Here is the link to the Facebook event page. Click on the link and let us know you’re coming. More information will be posted in the event page and you will want to know concerning the council meeting and the ordinance. https://www.facebook.com/events/1536215856506787/

May 15 is the important Pennsylvania Primary elections. We need to win some important elections to set the tone for cannabis reform in Pennsylvania. First and foremost, KCC GIVES OUR FULL ENDORSEMENT TO JOHN FETTERMAN FOR LEUITENANT GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA! John Fetterman supports the full legalization of cannabis and nothing will send a message to Governor Wolf in November and the entire state legislature than electing Fetterman as Wolf’s partner and right-hand man.

IN YORK COUNTY KCC ENDORSES SHAWN MAUCK FOR STATE SENATE. Mauck is the current mayor of the borough of West York and his running in the 28th District for a seat being vacated by Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.

In Lancaster County’s 98th District we recommend Mary Auker-Endres for State Representative.
We will have more endorsements and recommendations coming over the next couple weeks leading up to primary election day on May 15.

May 22 is an important day with two major events, one in Harrisburg and one in the city of Bethlehem.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 is the 85 year anniversary of “marihuana” prohibition in Pennsylvania. To commemorate the occasion we are having a press conference/rally and lobby day from 2:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon in the Main Rotunda of the State Capitol building in Harrisburg.

We need everyone within an hour or two’s drive of Harrisburg to attend this important event where we will let the media, the Pa. state legislature and the people of Pennsylvania know that the 85 year war is coming to an end. We will discuss the history of cannabis prohibition in the Keystone state and its devastating consequences while making the case for change – immediate decriminalization of cannabis followed by the full legalization of cannabis with the right to grow our own.

Some of us will be meeting with our state reps and state senators and other legislators and we encourage others to do the same though it is not mandatory in order to attend the press conference and stand with us.

KCC is working to organize this event in conjunction with Lehigh Valley NORML, South Philly NORML, Pittsburgh NORML, Pittsburgh NORML Women’s Alliance and national NORML.

Also at the May 22 event in Harrisburg we will be announcing a BIG rally in Harrisburg sometime in September that will commemorate the 85 year anniversary of the date that cannabis prohibition went into effect in the state and the first arrests began in September of 1933.

Click on the link to the event and let us know you are coming. WE NEED YOU TO JOIN US IN HARRISBURG ON TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018! https://www.facebook.com/events/364266944078894/

May 22 is also the night that Bethlehem City Council will consider a decriminalization ordinance. Council meeting starts at 6pm in Bethlehem Council Chambers at 10 E Church St, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18018 (across the plaza from the Public Library at City Center).

We urge all persons within a one hour drive of Bethlehem to please attend this important council meeting.

Please pick either the Bethlehem or Harrisburg events or, if you are feeling exceptionally motivated do like some of us are going to do on May 22 and go to BOTH important events.

Click on the link to the event page for Bethlehem City Council meeting on May 22 and let us know you are coming. https://www.facebook.com/events/370080476822156/?__mref=mb Remember, never underestimate the power of showing up! (across the plaza from the Public Library at City Center).

CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE THE ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY and ask him or her to support HB195 or HB928 specifically and the general concept of decriminalization.

Also, call the members and leaders of the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE.

Contact for all members and leaders of the House JUDICIARY COMMITTEE can be found by clicking on this link… https://www.facebook.com/lehighvalleynorml/photos/a.547065545429296.1073741828.537164016419449/1184163595052818/?type=3&theater

Our friends at Lehigh NORML have written a short suggested script:
“Hello, Representative (insert politician name here), my name is (your name here), I stand with tens of thousands Pennsylvanians asking your support and possible cosponsorship of House Bill 928, which amends the state penalties for adults who possess small, personal use amounts of marijuana. Pennsylvanians demand more sensible cannabis laws, and today I ask your support for House Bill 928.”

*BTW, you may call ANY PA House member and ask cosponsorship. You can use this link to find your State Rep:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/…/le…/home/findyourlegislator

There is lot going on and May is a busy and very important month with multiple opportunities to make a real difference in Pennsylvania. We are taking the fight to Harrisburg, Allentown and Bethlehem. Please help us to make this month of May in 2018 a MONTH OF ACTION!

One last thing, please consider making a generous donation to KCC so that we can continue to do this important work of laying the foundation for the complete end of cannabis prohibition in Pennsylvania with the full legalization of cannabis and the right to grow our own. You can make a donation by clicking on this link… https://www.keystonecannabiscoalition.org/donate/

You can guarantee that KCC will put all donations to good use, using the funds to print brochures, fliers, information packets, gas money to get to events, permit fees, event insurance etc. Together we can do this and pooling our collective resources our community will be unstoppable.

Thank you, and we love you all. It is your donations that have allowed us to do so much so far and it is YOU and YOUR ACTIONS that is going to see to it that we succeed in the future.

Sincerely,
Les Stark
Executive Director, Keystone Cannabis Coalition

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