Marijuana Activist Shocked By His Own Arrest

PENNSYLVANIA:  Chris Goldstein sees momentum in the battle to legalize marijuana.

As a paid blogger with NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and an activist who later worked on New Jersey’s medical-marijuana law and Philadelphia’s decriminalization bill, he has been caught up in a swirl of hearings, media conferences, and street theater for more than a decade.

Goldstein, a 38-year-old Willingboro resident, says the groundwork has been laid. But for him, the effort came with an unanticipated setback.

Colorado and Washington opened the door to full legalization this year, and 22 states allow the sale of medical cannabis. Even the federal government, which still classifies marijuana as illegal, has softened its stance. The attorney general has said resources won’t be spent on enforcing marijuana laws in states where there is a conflict, and President Obama said in recent interviews that he doesn’t consider marijuana worse than alcohol or cigarettes.

That’s why Goldstein was stunned when he was prosecuted for smoking, you guessed it, a marijuana cigarette, during a monthly public protest staged in the shadow of the Liberty Bell last August. He is appealing, and his court brief is due by the end of June.