Pot Is Coming, Philadelphia!

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It’s a Saturday morning a few months ago. I’m in Atlantic City, sitting on a folding chair in a medium-size conference room at Bally’s, along with maybe 75 other bleary-eyed semi-note-takers. I’m here for day one of a four-day horticultural seminar — cost: $995 — in which the only plant that will be discussed is marijuana. The event is being run by Oaksterdam University, a college in Oakland, California, that behaves like it’s in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (Sample course — “Methods of Ingestion: Vaporizing 8701.”) Oaksterdam, founded in 2007, has only been raided by federal agents once.

Among the first speakers is a handsome young New York lawyer named Adam Scavone who specializes in deconstructing the incomprehensible mishmash of local, state and federal laws that govern pot consumption in this country. “Let me ask you a question,” Scavone begins. “Are there any law enforcement officers in the room?” Four very silent seconds pass. “All right, good. That doesn’t mean there’s not. So just keep this in mind. We don’t know who might be here.”

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The 11 People Leading the Charge for Legal Pot in Philadelphia

The Politicians


Photos: Senate of Pennsylvania (Leach); Will Connelly (Kenney)

Two local politicians — er, pot-iticians? — stand at the forefront of the movement. State Senator Daylin Leach (left) has co-sponsored legislation in Harrisburg both to legalize medical marijuana — a bill that passed the Senate — and to legalize pot outright. (See Leach’s hilarious appearance at ThinkFest below.) City Councilman Jim Kenney (center) has recently fashioned himself into a millennial folk hero, championing gay-rights legislation and marijuana decriminalization that saw passage in September. Michael Bronstein (right), of the Bala Cynwyd political consultancy Bronstein & Weaver, is helming a nascent pot lobby called the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, designed to persuade states to pass cannabusiness-friendly legislation.

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The Enemy Among Us: How Are There Cowboys Fans in Philadelphia?


I’ve written about all sorts of different things over the years, but I’d never experienced people so visibly disgusted with me until I started poking around for this piece. All it took was a simple introduction of the topic: football-watching humans, born and/or raised in the Philadelphia area, who identify as fans of the Dallas Cowboys.

We’ll pause briefly here to allow you to ready your Nate Newton-branded airsickness bags.

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50 Best Black Friday Sales in Philly and the ’Burbs

illo girl with shopping bags

Let’s do this. |Shutterstock.

After another whirlwind year, we’ve arrived once again at peak shopping season — and we’re here to guide you through it. We’ve rounded up over 40 of the best sales, promotions, free gifts, secret codes, shopping parties and more (oh, and we sprinkled in where you’ll also get free booze). But what’s better: For 99 percent of them, you don’t even have to step foot into a mall, so you can avoid rabid crowds and support our coolest local shops. Happy shopping — and saving. Let’s do this.
Well, what are you waiting for?

10 Rules for Surviving the Drinking Holiday Known as Thanksgiving Eve


Did someone say shots? Read rule No. 9.

If you’re of a certain age (meaning you’re not spending your Thanksgiving Eve polishing the good silver or trying to herd cranky toddlers through the TSA metal detectors), there are two ways to look at the night before Thanksgiving. It’s either that one, wonderful night of the year when all your old childhood friends are back in town and looking to escape their families to reconnect over drinks at the local bar; or that one, terrible night of the year when your local bar is overrun by a bunch of idiots from out-of-town looking to reconnect with their childhood friends while you’re just trying to get drunk enough to deal with your family waiting back home.

Either way, it’s a big night. A festive night. A heavy-drinking kind of night that comes with its own unique challenges and potential pitfalls. But lucky for you, we’re here to help out with a guide to making it through one of the biggest party nights of the year unscathed, unashamed and without some pesky felony charge following you home to your normal life.

So let’s begin, shall we?

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Thanksgiving Workout: 7 At-Home Moves to Torch Calories Before You Feast



Thanksgiving is a day filled with family, fun and indulgences galore. Do yourself a favor and carve out a little extra time for some exercise before you sit down for the big meal.

I know what you’re thinking: Who has time to work out on Thanksgiving? Well, you do — because you don’t even have to leave the house for this one. So put the turkey in the oven and let the potatoes boil, because this workout is best done in your living room.

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Home Sweet Northeast for the Holiday


My trip home for Thanksgiving is barely a trip. Many people have a longer commute to work, and plenty would travel farther for pizza. But because I’m from the Northeast — where moving to another parish or, God forbid, a different Wawa precinct, is taboo — a 35-minute drive counts as something of a homecoming.

And — I-95 construction be damned — it feels good to go home.

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