The 11 People Leading the Charge for Legal Pot in Philadelphia

The Politicians

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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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Morning Headlines: Kenney Wants to Preserve and Protect

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As if decriminalizing marijuana weren’t enough, City Councilman Jim Kenney has proposed a double whammy of legislation that could improve the city’s inadequate system of preserving historic properties. From the Inquirer:

City Councilman James Kenney introduced two bills Thursday: One would transfer $500,000 to the [Philadelphia Historic] commission, the other would add at least 1,000 properties to the city’s register of historic places. There are thousands of Philadelphia properties on the National Register of Historic Places that are not on the local register.

“If it’s significant enough to be on the federal list, it could be significant enough to be on the local register,” Kenney said.

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PHOTOS: 300 Show Up to Attend Brian Sims’ Rally for Gay-Bashing Victims

LOVE Park was a veritable sea of supporters this afternoon, when more than 300 (!) local lawmakers, LGBT leaders and community members showed up in the rain to attend a rally for the two gay men attacked on September 11th in Center City.

The event was hosted by State Representative Brian Sims, who used the opportunity to draw attention HB 177 and SB 42, two pieces of legislation that would add sexual orientation to Pennsylvania’s current hate crime laws.

Photographer HughE Dillon was there to capture some snapshots, which you can seen below. Check some of the captions for remarks made by those who took part.



 

Council Members Push for LGBT-Specific Hate-Crime Legislation in Philadelphia

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In today’s City Council session council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and Jim Kenney will introduce a bill that seeks to “close a hate-crime loophole that currently exists in the Philadelphia code.”

The bill would add a new chapter to the City Code that will provide “additional penalties for criminal conduct motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and disabilities as defined in the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance and all of which are not covered by existing state hate crime laws.”

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Businesses Complain About Dîner en Blanc; Organizers Respond

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Photo | HughE Dillon

This year’s Philadelphia edition of Dîner en Blanc was held last Thursday on South Broad Street. This caused consternation among business owners.

In addition to the fact that it shut down a stretch of South Broad after 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, Dîner en Blanc’s location, as per tradition, was kept secret until just before the event. The manager of Ruth’s Chris Steak House told NBC 10 the restaurant found out at 6:15 p.m. “We scrambled around to figure out valet parking,” Burnie Gaeta said, “to notify guests that there is going to be a backlog.” The city says officials reached out to local businesses 90 days in advance.

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420 Marijuana Arrests Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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Two weeks ago, we told you that there had been 264 people charged with marijuana possession in Philadelphia in the month following City Council’s June 19th vote to decriminalize the possession of small amounts.

And since that report, there have been 156 more arrests, according to court records, bringing the grand total to 420. (Yes, 420.) That’s 420 people who now have criminal records for possession, and the vast majority of them were not charged with any other crimes. Read more »

Jim Kenney Urges Mayor to Sign Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Yesterday, Victor Fiorillo reported that there had been 264 arrests for marijuana possession in the month following City Council’s vote to drop pot possession to a $25 fine.

With the bill — which passed 13-3 — likely to become law in September, it looks silly that there are still pot arrests in the interim. And the author of the marijuana decriminalization law, City Councilman Jim Kenney, is urging Mayor Michael Nutter to sign the law and at least start the debate over whether cops are going to follow it. (Citing state statutes, cops say they plan to ignore the new law and continue to arrest people for pot possession anyway.)

“Just this week, it was reported that another 264 citizens have been arrested since this Bill overwhelming passed City Council on June 19, 2014. Every day Mayor Nutter fails to act, more young people will be handcuffed and jailed for a minimal offense — something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in Pennsylvania”, Kenney said in a statement. Hey, that’s Philly mag’s reporting! If we were a tabloid newspaper, we’d be running an inset image of yesterday’s story alongside this update.

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264 Charged With Marijuana Possession Since City Council Voted to Decriminalize

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On June 19th, Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, passing a bill introduced by Councilman Jim Kenney. But Mayor Michael Nutter opposes the bill, and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has said that he will continue to make marijuana arrests, even if the bill is signed into law. In the month following the bill’s passing, 264 citizens were charged with the crime.

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