PENNSYLVANIA: We are celebrating an incredible revolution of ideas this week, one that has a living pulse today.
The Philadelphia of 1776 housed the women and men who crafted a new future for freedom. In 2013 it is where the United States federal government is displaying the tremendous cost and energy it will spend to arrest Americans simply for smoking marijuana.
On Sunday June 30th scores of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents and National Park Service (NPS) Rangers along with Philadelphia Police (PPD) participated in a coordinated disruption of the monthly “Smoke Down Prohibition” protest in front of the Liberty Bell.
At 4:20PM many in the crowd lit cannabis joints in a symbolic protest against federal laws…as they have each month (in the same spot) since December 2012.
This time more than eighty members of law enforcement (all with guns, some in riot gear) were sent into the group of about 100 peaceful cannabis consumers who had just respectfully marched all the way from City Hall (in the rain) without incident.
But when protesters arrived at The People’s Plaza over a dozen people were roughly dragged to the ground by police, agents and rangers. Eight people were issued citations. I was one of those cited.
The strategies and tactics employed by the multiple agencies are a real window into the marijuana policy problem overall. More than 750,000 Americans will be treated the same way this year by police just for a small amount of pot; but most of the actual arrests won’t be so well documented.
President Obama, top-level politicians along with agency heads at the DEA, ONDCP and others claim that federal laws against possession of a few grams of weed isn’t on their radar. But that is a lie. We can see just how the federal government feels about marijuana legalization in their militarized response to a group of Americans openly carrying a little bit of cannabis.