Vanessa Maria and I drove to Bristol, PA, on November 21, 2015, to take part in the “Medical Cannabis & Hemp Rally,” hosted by The Campaign for Compassion and the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. Around 150 demonstrators gathered to listen to speeches at Lions Park, along the borough waterfront. The main speaker was Dana Ulrich of Middletown, PA, who gave the most moving speech that day of her daughter Lorelei, an 8-year old who suffers daily seizures from epilepsy and requires medical marijuana. “When is enough enough? When are they going to listen to the people?” Dana Ulrich asked during the rally. Les Stark gave an oral history of hemp, with other speeches by Ryan Yeager, a U.S. Army veteran; Tom Nadzam, a cancer patient; Louise Sherman, mother of a child with epilepsy; Derek Rosenzweig of Philly NORML; and a George Washington impersonator. I spoke about my campaign for the Legalize Marijuana Party in the Third District of NJ for 2016, while Vanessa covered the importance of changing federal laws and descheduling.
Democratic State Rep. John Galloway of Falls Township, spoke in support of the cause and gave an update on Senate Bill 3 for medical marijuana. He told the crowd that the State House was getting prepared to vote on the bill, and if it passed it would be sent to Gov. Wolf. Galloway was quoted by Levittownnow.com as saying,“I’m looking to get this to the governor and passed by Christmas to give [Ulrich’s daughter] and her family a really great Christmas present.” Galloway also gave support to marijuana demonstrations: “You have made a difference at the grassroots level.” His involvement in the movement began two years earlier, when approached by Ulrich’s father. “When people came together in a bipartisan way, that’s when I decided I couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore,” Galloway stated.
But by December, SB3 was overloaded into annihilation. This, despite the fact that PA activists have spent another year hard at work trying to pass a medical bill. Not to mention that this work was done with 90 percent of the public supporting a state medical marijuana bill. PA is unusually restrictive when it comes to pot, being one of the only states in the North-East to not have a medical program of some kind. Meanwhile, its neighbor Delaware is establishing medical marijuana dispensaries and decriminalizing the plant state-wide this December 18. On the subject of Decriminalization, Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, has now enforced its Decriminalization Bill for over a year now without trouble. Even more embarrassing for the state, Pittsburgh, the state’s second biggest city, is set to vote on Decriminalization on December 15.
- Levittownnow.com, November 22, 2015. http://levittownnow.com/2015/11/22/medicinal-cannabis-rally-draws-about-50-people/
- The Intelligencer, November 22, 2015.
- Bucks County Courier Times, November 21.