Medical marijuana may be legal in Pennsylvania but that doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing the word “cannabis” on Adopt a Highway signs across the commonwealth.

PennDOT recently ruled that the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival couldn’t adopt a stretch of road in Susquehanna County because the psychotropic drug is illegal.

“I think they’re just making up the rules as they go,” said Jeff Zick, who organized the festival last month at Scranton’s Nay Aug Park with the city’s permission.

Organizing the roadside cleanups, as well as the festival, was a way to encourage the acceptance of marijuana, Zick said. “We’re trying to break the public’s stigma and the bad propaganda with truth and reality,” he said.

A recent roadside cleanup organized by the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival.Provided photo 

The group had already begun cleanup efforts along Route 106 in Susquehanna County when PennDOT rejected its application to formally adopt the roadway.

According to Zick, state officials and lawmakers provided three different reasons for the denial. First, the group was told it wasn’t a business. When the festival returned with information about its LLC status, it was told that it supported non-medicinal cannabis use. Finally, a lawmaker passed along information that the group was denied because cannabis is illegal.

James May, a PennDOT spokesman, said such decisions are made by the local district executive after an initial review by the county coordinator.

“Although there are exceptions for religious or medical purposes, cannabis is still an illegal substance,” he said.

The festival, May said, was neither a medical organization nor a religious group.

“Our district executive felt it would not be appropriate to allow the promotion of an illegal substance on a commonwealth-owned sign,” he said.

Marijuana, of course, is on precarious legal footing. Pennsylvania and more than two dozen other states have allowed its use for

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