With marijuana laws quickly changing around the country, activists in the Philadelphia region are resorting to direct action to bring marijuana users out of the closet and push for full legalization in Pennsylvania. Since last December, N.A. Poe and members of The Panic Hour (a local comedy group) have been holding monthly Smokedown Prohibition events, where marijuana reform activists take part in civil disobedience and spark a joint, next to the Liberty Bell. In the beginning of the movement, national park security guards or the Philadelphia Police Department paid much attention to the demonstrators smoking marijuana on the park grounds, but during the May Smokedown Prohibition event, the movement saw it’s first arrests when organizer N.A. Poe and libertarian activist Adam Kokesh were whisked away by federal agents. The event where Poe and Kokesh were arrested and the June demonstration have brought out a heavy handed response by federal and local officials. With agents and officers from the Department of Homeland Security, Philadelphia Police Department, Fish and Wildlife and SEPTA (transit police) on site to intimidate the marijuana protesters, one may call this an act of “street theatre” by the local authorities.
In response to the “street theatre” by local and federal officials, Chris Goldstein, a marijuana rights columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer and writer for Freedom is Green, explained in a press conference that “100 million of Americans have tried marijuana, a good portion of our country will buy marijuana, and we don’t want to keep it in the closet.” In explanation of continuing to smoke marijuana in public, he goes on to explain that it is “extremely important for our rights and stand up publicly for it.”
However, on the July 26th sit-in at Independence Mall, marijuana activists won’t be smoking their strain of choice at 4:20 PM, instead they’ll be sitting down and hanging around with the federal and local officials, who will most likely attend the event. Oh yeah, if you’re going, bring a sleeping bag or blanket, they may be staying for a while.
The text to the Facebook event page can be found below the video of the news conference.
The event page reads:
time for a curveball…
After six successful rallies, The Panic Hour and Philly Norml return with the seventh edition of Smoke Down Prohibition.
We ask you to join us and peacefully Sit-in at The Liberty Bell to stand up against cannabis prohibition.
This time the rally will be on Friday, July 26th and we will be gathering for the event at 4:20pm.
Can’t make it for the start of the rally?
Stop by when ya can and show your support.
There will be speakers, activities, arts and crafts and workshops throughout the evening.( want to speak or lend a talent? hit us up)
Bring a sign,a camera and a joint or blunt with you. (no glass or paraphernalia )
Planning on sitting in with us for the long haul?
Then bring a blanket and some munchies to snack on.**
We will be livestreaming the event as well for your viewing pleasure.
The “moment of marijuana reflection” will not be determined beforehand, but don’t worry, we will definitely be smoking down at some point.
(Our apologies to the Park rangers,DHS,PPD, SEPTA Transit Police and Fish and Wildlife Services for not giving them a specific time.)
We are peacefully assembling and petitioning the government for a redress of our grievances through mass civil disobedience.
COME OUT AND HELP US CHANGE THESE UNJUST LAWS and MELT DOWN THE LUNATIC INSANE DRUG WAR!!
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
you know where to find us..
**Note – Some of us may actually be staying over!