A Philadelphia cannabis party was shut down last night when local narcotics officers raided the warehouse hosting the “Philly Smoke Session” event.
According to Philly.com, around 75 attendees were detained by police and as many as 11 people were arrested, including the party’s organizer, N.A. Poe, a vocal cannabis advocate and the city’s libertarian candidate for mayor.
The Instagram account “Philly Smoke Session” has successfully promoted similar cannabis events in the past and Poe told Philly Mag reported Victor Fiorillo, who attended the party but left before police showed up, that 300 people bought tickets for last night’s event at $50 a pop. Vendors paid $400 a piece to set up shop in the North Philly warehouse, selling infused baked goods, high grade buds and various extracts.
Now I literally just paid 450$ dollars to enjoy a fucking raid thanks to..#phillysmokesession💀 I sure hope we get refunded for this copfest— Melinda Says (@oatmealislove) April 23, 2017
Apparently, Philly PD wasn’t feeling the post-4/20 celebration. According to Philly.com columnist and party attendant Chris Goldstein, Philly narcotics officers with their name plates blacked-out busted into the warehouse and started handcuffing, searching and arresting partygoers.
Goldstein went on Twitter to document the incident, and says officers told him "We are doing this because marijuana is still illegal.”
PPD Narcotics (name covered) said "we are doing this because marijuana is still illegal"— Chris Goldstein (@freedomisgreen) April 23, 2017
.@PhillyPolice raid of marijuana party tonight included undercovers who bought tickets, led by Narcotics and SWAT. Open talk of planning.— Chris Goldstein (@freedomisgreen) April 23, 2017
The cops are technically right, but cannabis was decriminalized in Philly in 2014, so anyone carrying less than 30 grams of flower should only have been subjected to a $25 ticket. Police have not yet released any further information about the raid.
Reports from the party say that a significant number of those in attendance had chronic medical conditions and couldn’t access cannabis products anywhere else. Pennsylvania’s first crack at a medical marijuana program is set to kick off next year, so hopefully those in need will be able to access cannabis through legal channels in the near future.
It is still unclear what charges Poe and the others will face, and what it will do for his mayoral candidacy, but the Smoke Session raid is just another example of why the push for cannabis legalization is so important.