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A March for Cannabis Legalization in PA

By: Gina Vensel

Friday, April 23rd

The stigmas around cannabis still exist, not just in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, but in most places in the U.S. Many people are still suffering from misconceptions around reefer madness. That is why I felt it was so important to travel to Harrisburg on 4/20/21 alongside cannabis activists across Pennsylvania to march to the Capitol for adult use cannabis reform. 

Currently PA has its first adult use bipartisan bill, and Harrisburg was buzzing after speeches by the bill's co-authors Sen. Laughlin (R-Erie) and Sen. Street (D-Philadelphia). Leafly's CEO also made a powerful 4/20 speech in support of cannabis legalization on the steps of the Capitol. Read more here

However, without GOP support in PA, this bill (like all of the others in the past) will likely get tossed out. Why is the Pennsylvania GOP keeping us stuck in cannabis prohibition? asked Patrick Nightingale, on behalf of Pittsburgh NORML. Read his opinion piece in the Pennsylvania Capital Star

Would the change of language get conservatives to consider the plant differently? Marijuana is a term rooted in racism (new to this thought-click here to learn more), and weed downgrades the miraculous plant, a medicine to so many people. Will people shy away from using the word "cannabis" because it's new to them? Or can this be a teachable moment for us to discuss the ongoing stigma? 

I certainly do not think that language alone will change people's minds about the plant, but I think that education can help. When we focus on sharing facts and stats that back our passion for the plant, it allows for others that may not even use cannabis to have a more open mind. 

At PMP, we will continue to share our local state cannabis reform news as we keep an eye on the federal government who has pledged to move cannabis reform through the U.S. Senate in the form of the U.S. House-approved MORE Act. We'll use our podcast and Clubhouse Club - The Vine -  to share discussions around cannabis reform, and encourage our readers to keep in touch with developing stories. 

Ending the reefer madness will not be easy, but with a focus on education, compassion towards others points of view, and dialogue backed with facts and stats, we can be catalysts to help change the conversation around adult use cannabis legalization.