Under a calescent Philadelphia sun, marijuana activists marched a giant 51-foot inflatable joint approximately 4.2 miles through downtown Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, just hours before the Democratic National Convention’s opening night.
Approximately 25 people carried the giant joint from City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center, where the Convention is being held this week.
Big crowds watch as activists inflate the giant joint, and topless women, wearing pot leafs over their bosoms, posed for selfies and handed out informational leaflets. The protesters said they wanted cannabis descheduled federally and legalized.
Pot industry executives and Democratic governors have mingled during the Convention. The Democratic Party has promoted its “pathway to future legalization” of marijuana. The party called for the drug to be rescheduled in the Controlled Substances Act.
“I think the war on drugs is a direct reason for the disconnect between law enforcement and our communities, and we can not begin to rehabilitate the attitude towards law enforcement until we fix the prosecution of marijuana use,” a young woman told MERRY JANE while carrying the 51-foot joint.
One protestor, a woman with HIV/AIDS, said medical cannabis keeps her alive.
Another, having just battled breast cancer, explained how marijuana helped her deal with her anxiety while not becoming addicted to prescription drugs.
Protesters expressed distrust in Hillary Clinton on marijuana policy. During his 1992 campaign, Hillary's husband, Bill, called for treatment for drug offenders, not prison. But while President, he expanded the War on Drugs, placing a permanent ban on food stamps for people convicted of felony drug offenses such as marijuana possession. Mr. Clinton increased federal prison spending by 171% or $19 billion. He also earmarked $1 billion in state education funds for prisons.
Mrs. Clinton does not demonstrate the richest grasp of the marijuana literature. She’s expressed interest in moving marijuana from Schedule I to a lower schedule. Not convinced by the anecdotal evidence regarding marijuana’s uses, she takes a wait and see approach.
Her primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, used his support of descheduling marijuana to differentiate his campaign from Mrs. Clinton’s.
“This is the difference between the secretary and myself,” he once said. “We have got to have the guts to rethink the so-called War on Drugs.” He called for the end of the federal prohibition of marijuana.
“Too many lives have been destroyed because people possessed marijuana — millions over a 30-year period,” Mr. Sanders said. “That is why I believe we should take marijuana out of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”