Cannabis Dreams in Pennsylvania
This is the future of Pennsylvania so I want you to imagine it with me. There are greater visions of far off future years but I want you to see a future much closer. We are going to look just two years in front of us. What will we see?
It is the summer of 2018. Medical cannabis is growing in 25 locations throughout the state. The growers have hired many local citizens who have had previous experience in this particular botanical field.
The media is loving it because it is good for their ratings. We are seeing news stories showing the crystal-laden buds being harvested for medicine in our home towns. We’ll see the extraction being done as the buds are transformed to oils. Ancillary businesses will be getting in on the ground floor.
The medical cannabis program will still be relatively new but even so dozens of dispensaries will have already emerged with dozens more about ready to open and up to 150 on track to open their doors in the near future. The dispensaries will employ many locals in their communities.
The program is off to a fast start, tens of thousands already vaping oils in their vape pens to medicate the symptoms of their illnesses. Over the following year up to 100,000 Pennsylvanians will be receiving medical cannabis. Already stories are coming in with people reporting near miraculous cures!
One day, you drive by the medical cannabis dispensary and decide to take a ride through farm country. Rolling down the windows you smell an odor, oddly familiar, sweet but startling, fresh and organic. What is that towering field of tall green stalks and fragrant blossoms waving in the wind? Ah, it’s Jacob’s field and he is doing a trial run of ten acres of hemp. A bit past Jacob’s farm you notice that his neighbor Amos was a bit more bold – sixty acres of hemp! What’s he going to do with all that? Later you find out that he is growing it for seed and plans to supply his brother’s large poultry operation with nutritional seed. It is a part of a research program supervised by the state Department of Agriculture to determine the benefits of hemp as poultry and livestock feed.
The drive is pleasant. You are surprised to see that dozens of local farms are participating in the hemp trials. Some farmers just want to see if it will grow and start out with an acre. Others 6-8 acres, and some like Amos who go big with it.
You get home and pick up the newspaper. There is an article about the new hemp manufacturing plant being built to turn the local hemp into quality materials for a wide range of products. When they finish they will employ 250 locals who are badly in need of jobs since the old factory shut down and shipped their jobs overseas.
It’s a growing trend. The interest shown by Pennsylvania farmers has investors looking to open more hemp manufacturing facilities in various parts of the state. Suddenly the possibility of thousands of jobs becomes a reality.
Things sure seem different these days. In addition to these positive changes the state has decided to decriminalize the possession of an ounce of cannabis. In the old days it was a criminal misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail. Now, it has become a low priority for law enforcement. Arrests are dropping dramatically but for those who are caught the penalty has been reduced to a summary offense and a max penalty of $100.
It was not an easy journey to get here but the general assembly passed Ed Gainey’s bill for statewide decriminalization after Pennsylvania citizens came together to pass House Bill 2076. Now, those who enjoy cannabis instead of alcohol can relax a bit easier.
Long time cannabis activists note the progress the state is making. They congratulate the thousands of patients receiving medical cannabis and thank all those who make it possible. They remark on how well the hemp industry is taking off. They are thankful that cannabis consumers are no longer considered criminals.
However, the activists point out that the problem now is that there are no legal channels of distribution for cannabis and no way to legally grow and sell it for the benefit of cannabis consumers, thus forcing them to count on an underground, unregulated industry.
By this time Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington DC have all fully legalized cannabis. You are anxious for November to see if the 4 states with cannabis on the ballot will vote yes. Quinnipiac , F&M and other polls show that 65% of Pennsylvanians now believe that cannabis should be fully legal in the state.
All of a sudden it’s all making sense to Pennsylvania. The people see that it was foolishness and absolute madness to lock people up and try to ban such a wonderful plant of so many uses, of such beauty and benefit.
The fight for legal cannabis in Pennsylvania is on and almost everyone agrees. Victory is in sight. You go to sleep at night dreaming pleasant dream of the future. You wake to the morning of a new day dawning in Pennsylvania. The world is changing and we are all changing with it and it feels good.
This vision is correct. What I have asked you to imagine I challenge you to create. This is a glimpse of just two years into the future. Carry the dream forward five, ten, twenty years – see what you come up with.
Join KCC in our mission to bring this dream to reality. Make a donation so that we can continue to take the fight to Harrisburg and the halls of power.
Also, if you are from Pennsylvania please come join us in our Facebook group page for Keystone Cannabis Coalition. There you can stay up to date on everything that is going on and learn how YOU can help us end the war on cannabis while hastening the day when the national prohibition of cannabis and hemp falls.