Raid on 'smokeasy' highlights Pennsylvania's pot dilemma – PennLive.com
Marijuana activist N.A. Poe ran for Philadelphia City Council on a decriminalization platform, marched through the streets during the Democratic National Convention last summer with a giant inflatable joint and posed for photos lighting up on Independence Mall.
Last week, he spoke out at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda.
On Monday, Poe–whose real name is Richard Tamaccio–sat in jail facing felony conspiracy and a raft of other charges after police raided a pot party he publicized on social media as the Philly Smoke Session.
According to police, the Saturday night raid resulted in the confiscation of 50 pounds of marijuana; roughly 100 pounds of edible THC-infused products; $50,000 cash and four handguns. In all, police arrested 22 attendees and released 175 others without charges.
The underground events, dubbed “smokeasies” in a nod to Prohibition-era alcohol dens, draw hundreds of marijuana users, as well as vendors, artists and musicians. They also highlight the conflicted legal status of marijuana and the fault lines that exist among legalization advocates.
“It is clearly illegal to sell, obviously, in those quantities,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Monday.
But Kenney added: “The real solution is to legalize it in the state of Pennsylvania, as they did in Colorado, [so] we won’t have to use police resources in these kinds of activities.”
The state is currently rolling out last year’s medical marijuana law. It already approved 226 applications for the Safe Harbor program, which allows caretakers of patients under the age of 18 to obtain medicine from other states, and is reviewing permit applications from grower/processors and dispensaries.
Despite the rise of a state-sanctioned marijuana industry nationwide, the products sold at those new businesses are still federally illegal. In Philadelphia, Tamaccio and other activists successfully lobbied the city to decriminalize the possession of small