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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Tell Us How You Feel About Love

love-in-philly-bannerWe want to know your thoughts on relationships, sex, marriage, soul mates, and the state of love in Philadelphia right now. Results of this quick, anonymous poll will run in Philly Mag. So go ahead … tell us everything.*
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WATCH: 30th Anniversary Video of Dr. J Punching Larry Bird

These days, it seems like the only 76ers highlights available are when the other team does good things. That’s what happens when you’re in the second consecutive year of a tanking strategy that totally won’t alienate fans.

The only thing left to do? Remember the good old days.

Sunday, for example, was the 30th anniversary of the legendary fight between Dr. J and Larry Bird. Here’s the video:

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On Marriage, Part II: Ali Velshi and Lori Wachs

Photograph by Robert Schroeder

Photograph by Robert Schroeder

ALI [Al Jazeera America host]: We’ve been married five years. We met on my show.

LORI [president, cross ledge investments]: It was my first time ever on TV.

ALI: I’m not usually here [at home in Bryn Mawr] during the week. I have an apartment in New York. On Fridays I get on a 9 p.m. train from Penn Station, and I pull up at 10:50 p.m. in Bryn Mawr. And I usually leave Sunday night again. It’s great. It’s like date night all the time.

LORI: A fair amount of events that Ali’s involved with come up during the week. I certainly don’t go to all of them, but if there’s one that’s important, I’ll run up for it. And it becomes date night. Read more »

On Marriage, Part I: Ralph and Suzanne Roberts

Courtesy of the Roberts family.

Courtesy of the Roberts family.

SUZANNE: We’ve been married for 72 years. You need a wonderful love — and a super sex life. But when you get up in your 90s, sex becomes a wish. So you need a sense of humor. You have to realize that bad things are inevitable, so if you can learn to appreciate the good things, and use humor to get through the bad, you’re going to be pretty okay. He can make me laugh. Even now, we remind each other every night how lucky we are to have each other. And we never go to sleep without a kiss.

RALPH: With each other, that is. [laughs]

SUZANNE: What’d he say?

RALPH: That’s the sense of humor.

SUZANNE: And saying “I love you.” In addition, we share a banana. Someone once told us that the potassium in bananas would help prevent leg cramps during the night, and we found that advice has been very good. We’re at that point where it’s not “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That might have been true some years ago, but today it’s different. It’s appreciation of every moment you have. Read more »

Hell Is Other People on the SEPTA QuietRide Car

Illustration by Hawk Krall

Illustration by Hawk Krall

“I wish you were going to Vegas,” says the girl in the bright orange tank top. There’s something both infuriating and admirable about her tone. The way her declarative statements bend upward in pitch, as if she’s asking a question, reminds me of Valley Girls in the ’80s, and Paris Hilton. But this hot mess clearly doesn’t care what anyone around her thinks. If she were on a reality TV show, I’d say good for you — be yourself, screw the haters. But we’re on a SEPTA train bound for the ’burbs sometime around 6 p.m., and just seconds ago, the conductor made an announcement that we’re sitting in what’s known as the QuietRide car. Even if you’re not a regional-rail regular, you can probably figure out what that’s supposed to mean. Orange Tank Top and her male companion — who, in clear violation of some hipster-slacker ethos, is rocking both a backpack and a messenger bag — drone on, oblivious to both the friendly reminder and to the fact that no one in the entire car is talking except for them.
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Stunning Drone Photos of the Sights of Philadelphia

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and skyline. Photograph by Matt Satell

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and skyline. Photograph by Matt Satell

Matt Satell, 28, isn’t really a photographer … at least, not a trained photographer. The digital marketing manager for a Malvern publishing company is, as he modestly puts it, just “a tech junkie with a drone.” He’s also the brain behind Phillybyair.com, a beautiful website that highlights “the best of the City of Brotherly Love,” featuring photos taken via his $1,300 DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus.

“I’m an amateur at heart,” Satell says. “I sort of let the drone do the work.” The results? Pretty cool. (Better hurry and get yours now, before the Christmas rush.)
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Is Feminism Dead? Two Philadelphia Millennials Weigh In

Layla Jones and Janan McCormick. Photograph by Justin James Muir

Layla Jones and Janan McCormick. Photograph by Justin James Muir

Our baby boomer reporter chats women’s rights and labels with Layla Jones, 21, a Web content producer, and Janan McCormick, 23, a nurse.

PM: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Layla: I was just talking to a friend about this. We were like, you know, I don’t feel like a feminist per se. And then we’re like, why not? We just want equality for everybody; we don’t want to have to label ourselves. But then people get mad and say, “What do you mean you’re not feminists? Do you even know what feminism is?” And I’m like, honestly, I’m not sure, but I feel like I do.

Janan: I feel like feminism is a word that’s like love in the English language. You know how in other languages there are all these different types of words for love, like friendship and family love and romantic love? I feel like feminism has become a word that means something different to everybody. Read more »

Nathaniel Popkin and Diana Lind on Architecture

Nathaniel Popkin and Diana Lind at Penn's Fisher Fine Arts Library. Photograph by Justin James Muir

Nathaniel Popkin and Diana Lind at Penn’s Fisher Fine Arts Library. Photograph by Justin James Muir

NATHANIEL: The Athenaeum made both of our lists of favorite buildings in Philadelphia. What is it you like about it?

DIANA: The Athenaeum is like a bunch of other buildings in Philadelphia I adore: They’re set in time. They feel completely separate from what’s going on a couple blocks away on 8th and Market, which would be the total absence of feeling. When I compare the Athenaeum to a lot of architecture that we build today, I feel we’ve dumbed down the palette and created buildings intended to be timeless but that don’t transport you anywhere.

NATHANIEL: But contemporary architects have to deal with an extraordinary number of constraints. You have to satisfy the function of the building and contemporary aesthetic instinct — which is confusing because no one knows what that is. You also have to consider sustainability, budget, and maybe a site that’s difficult to work with. I think in many cases the architect is doing an admirable job trying to balance those things. Read more »

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