For those of you paying attention, you know that plenty is happening in Pennsylvania right now. Philadelphia decriminalized up to an ounce of cannabis and it’s been in effect for nine months already. We seem on the verge of passing a medical cannabis bill. Our hemp bill seems also destined to pass. Municipalities around the state are discussing decriminalization. Governor Wolf is working with advocates and pushing for decriminalization.
Meanwhile, change is accelerating all around the country. Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, plus Washington D. C. – have full legalization. 23 states have passed medical cannabis bills.
The states surrounding us are changing. Maryland decriminalized cannabis plus has medical cannabis. Delaware is opening up it first medical cannabis dispensary and has just decriminalized cannabis. New York has decriminalization and a limited medical cannabis bill. New Jersey has medical cannabis. Ohio is getting full legalization on the ballot in November and may pass it.
Here in Pennsylvania though, despite the hope of change all we have so far is talk. Medical cannabis is still illegal here. Farmers still can not grow hemp. Possession of cannabis is still considered a crime. The people are demanding change but yet they are still resisting and delaying us.
So what are we to do about it? Well, one thing we are going to do is we are going to make our voices heard in the streets all around the state. That is why we are rallying in West Chester on Saturday at 3:00 pm. We are going to hear from some fiery supporters like David Baker – congressional candidate who plans to take on Congressman Joe Pitts, Mike Whiter – former Marine Corps Staff Sgt., who is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and working to bring attention to cannabis and PTSD, N.a. Poe – hero of the Smoke Down Prohibition rallies in Philadelphia. We will have other passionate speakers as well and even an open mic where YOU get to say what YOU want.
We need a good turnout in West Chester to really drive home the point that there is wide support for change in Pennsylvania. The West Chester Hemp Freedom Rally will be held outside the old court house on 2 North High Street. After the rally we have a great after-party planned at Sprout Music Collective, just steps away from the rally, with the great rock and reggae grooves of Kintala.
We will also be attending the Smoke Down Prohibition rally on Friday in Philadelphia that starts at 4:00 pm at Love Park. The crowd is expected to number around a thousand people.
So two important rallies this weekend to attend. We hope to see as many of you there as can attend. These are important opportunities that we have to show our strength and to make our voices heard. They are supplements to our work in the General Assembly and serve to help kick them in the ass a little bit to give them some incentive to get things done.
We are tired of talk. It’s time for action and we need everybody involved.
See you in West Chester!
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As we take this day to celebrate freedom and our nation’s independence, lets take a moment to remember that right here in Pennsylvania we are still fighting for our basic right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Thousands of Pennsylvanians who have been waiting for relief are still suffering. Our veterans that fought for the very freedom we celebrate today are still waiting. Still suffering and paying the price for their service to our country.
Pa Veteran Mike Whiter has been documenting the struggling and harsh realities that too many have been turning a blind eye to. Take a moment to check out “Operation Overmed“, his powerful photography project. Many veterans with PTSD have found relief with medical cannabis, yet here is PA there have been attempts to remove this as a condition.
Medical Cannabis legislation has been on quite the roller coaster ride over the last few weeks. While some legislators have thwarted every attempt to give us a comprehensive and compassionate bill, others have stepped up to the plate to champion our cause, while still others intentions are a little bit dubious.
Nevertheless, we have hope. We have determination. We have truth on our side. Together we will prevail.
So as you enjoy your barbeque, friends, family and fireworks, please also take a moment to remember. Remember those who sacrificed and served, remember the children and adults alike who are prisoners of their medical conditions and the often forgotten caregivers who devote their lives to meeting their needs.
Please contact your house representatives and encourage them to pass meaningful and compassionate medical cannabis legislation.
Let Freedom Ring!
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On July 4th, 1776, in consideration of his own mortality, John Witmer dipped his feather quill pen into a fountain of ink, thought carefully, and then penned his last will and testament. Sixty-odd miles to the east in Philadelphia – the signing of the Declaration of Independence – but here in Warwick Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the homespun document would be of great personal importance to the Witmer family.
Like many people of the time who wrote wills, Mr. Witmer gave specific instructions that his wife was to be well taken care of and provided with the basic necessities of life that she would need to survive. Among other things, his son Michael was to provide his mother with twelve pound of hackled hemp every year for the rest of her life, provided of course, that she remain a widow.
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My book, Hempstone Heritage, contains hundreds of wills from old Lancaster County citizens who made sure that their children grew hemp for their mothers or handed their hemp mills down to their sons.
So much hemp was grown in Lancaster County that when it was formed in 1729 it contained the original Hempfield Township, named for the “Vast quantities of hemp raised there”.
By the 1760’s hemp was booming here but it was during the period of the Revolutionary war that hemp entered it’s truly Golden Age in Lancaster County and throughout Pennsylvania.
An article in Pennsylvania History entitled Pennsylvania German Agriculture says:
“Mention should also be made of flax and hemp, both of which were cultivated rather extensively. Flax was of course important for the home manufacture of clothing; Flax seed and hemp found a ready market. While flax was common on all German farms in all areas, the greatest production of hemp was found in the valleys of the Susquehanna, the Conestoga, the Pequea and adjacent regions. The growing of hemp was such an extensive industry in Lancaster County that representatives from that district urged a tariff in the First Federal Congress; and on July 4, 1789 such a tariff was passed.”
Five years later, in 1794, George Washington stopped in to visit and inspect a hemp mill in Paradise owned by a man named David Witmer.
Happy Independence Day everyone!