Ava Berg Remembered as Self-Described Hippie, Tireless Advocate for Legalizing Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA: Ava Berg, a tireless advocate for medical marijuana and one of Harrisburg’s prominent personalities, has died.

Berg, a local activist and supporter of Harrisburg Hope and the NAACP, passed away Aug. 30 from cancer, said Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, president of Harrisburg Hope. He said she is survived by a daughter, Melanie Berg of Baltimore, Md., two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Gilbert L. Dailey Funeral Home in Harrisburg confirmed news of Berg’s death.

With her thick gray hair and husky voice, Berg stood up at many state and city meetings and forums to voice her support for medical marijuana. She was bestowed with several nicknames from “Harrisburg marijuana lady” to Ava “Hip Soul” Berg.

A few years ago, she wrote a rap song, “Grandma’s Smoking Weed.” Many of her videos are on YouTube under the tag “Ava Hip Soul.”

“She had the most contagious smile and just so full of energy and love for life,” Kennedy-Shaffer said. “She was humble, colorful and a stalwart advocate for medical marijuana.”

He said she was dedicated to the cause and connected with the entire community.

“She had the most contagious smile and just so full of energy and love for life,” — Alan Kennedy-Shaffer

Harrisburg Authority President Bill Cluck said he first met Berg a few years ago at an event at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg.

“She was a tireless advocate for change in the marijuana laws,” he said. “She would show up at various events and forums and people would laugh because she would bring up the issue and she was consistent … she has been on the right side of the issue and society, thankfully, is moving in that direction.”


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