October 18, 2016
A giant pot leaf blew around town this week to generate buzz for a planned celebration of the second anniversary of Philadelphia's decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
"It sure is nice to not be a criminal here," said Hempy the Pot Leaf, in a prepared statement.
On Thursday, Oct. 20, a Pop Up Weed Garden which will appear at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the date of the two-year anniversary of relaxed prosecution.
In the video, Hempy, as performed by local marijuana activist Nikki Allen Poe, visits the Italian Market, Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks, as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, even making his own run up the iconic museum steps.
Medical marijuana advocate and United States Marine Corps veteran Mike Whiter filmed the video on Wednesday.
"Although we realize that 160 [pounds] of weed is well over the decriminalized amount," said Poe, noting his own weight. "I'm glad that Hempy got to spend the day making new friends."
City Council, in 2014, passed an ordinance making less than 30 grams of marijuana — or 8 grams of hash/concentrate — a civil offense that could be handled with a ticket, instead of an arrest.
In a release, Chris Goldstein, an activist with PhillyNORML, noted that since then, arrests for marijuana possession have dropped more than 83 percent and city has saved nearly $9 million in public safety expenses.
"Thankfully Philadelphia has been part of the national momentum toward finally ending marijuana prohibition," Goldstein said in a statement released with the video.
The "Pop Up Weed Garden" from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is being promoted as a BYOW — or, bring your own small amount of marijuana, less than 30 grams — event with light snacks, refreshments and fun activities.