Local Cannabis Connoisseurs Hope for Legalization

SCRANTON -- Just days after the State Auditor General expressed hope that Pennsylvania will join the list of states allowing both medical and recreational marijuana, crowds gathered en masse in one part of Lackawanna County to show their support for the legalization of marijuana.

The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Nay Aug Park in Scranton is a festival of many forms -- part political rally, part music festival, and part shopping bazaar. Last year's festival took place on the same day that legislators in Harrisburg legalized medical marijuana statewide -- and festival organizers were hoping to recapture some of that spirit this year.

The Cannabis Festival made its third return this year, catering to a diverse crowd with a wide variety of activities. While people of all ages -- including many families with small children -- soaked up the sun and danced in the grass at Nay Aug, there was also plenty of politicking from those who believe the state is closer than ever to legalizing recreational marijuana.

"This event here is showing that Pennsylvanian's are in support of it, that we are not too conservative or old," said Lindsay Repman of Williamsport.

Even small business owners turned out in abundance to the festival. Jesse Shaffer owns Outta This World, a smoke shop in the Lee Park section of Hanover Township. The 21-year-old believes that full legalization would be a game changer for his business.

"This plant that can help all of these people -- including myself -- is a multi billion dollar industry, being sat on in Pennsylvania for stupid reasons," said Shaffer. "That's my opinion, there are billions of dollars to be made in this industry."

The pipes that Shaffer sells are manufactured locally by artists all across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

One such artisan glassblower, Richie Hull, left his native Susquehanna County for a time to move to Colorado to practice his craft -- a state where recreational pot is legalized. He since moved home, and hopes Pennsylvania will soon get on the same page as many other states in the nation.

"I love it here, it is my home, I want to see things legalized," Hull said.

He, and many others, believe the legalization will provide economic opportunities for young people to remain in the area.

"We don't always all have to flood to Colorado and California," he added. "We can stay right here."

While legalization has won the support of some state officials in Harrisburg, the role of the federal government still remains a question mark. The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival continues until 7 p.m. in Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

18 comments

    • Jim Heffner

      I’ve been to the city and I’ve seen the Elephant. I’ve fought in a war and delivered a baby and that was when I was still a young. I got the tee shirt too. At 73 years of age I’ll match my experiences and my quality of life against yours. Why can’t social conservatives learn to think or use coherent logic? They continue to make unfounded accusations about those who oppose them. With this level of opposition no wonder re-legalization is winning.
      But what do I know? I’m just a dumb Pensylfawnish Deitchmann who was lost in Sillycon Valley and is now stuck in Paradise – Pine Island, Floriduh.

  • Ron

    That festival couldn’t have been any better. It’s like it was meant to be. Appreciate all the hard work that went into putting such a spectacular event together. I had a blast. I love when the haters come out that know nothing about pot but want to tell us everything they heard from their mommas. You all are better off keeping your fingers off the keyboards.

  • magicmikexxsm

    True story,
    1980 Before the military aka the Navy went to 0 tolerance for drugs pot was rampant and being used a lot. was stationed in Puerto Rico at lunch time I’d go eat take a cat nap, the rest of the guys in my hut would lite up their joints, and weed pipes…we where building a 20×40 butler hut “a steel building” down in Alfa company, I was working on the pad getting it ready for concrete, and some stoners where up in the purlins doing work…
    Well thank god for hard hats, I’d be working down below and they would be high from doing weed they would be dropping wrenches hammers down on to the guys working below. it got sooo bad I had to ask for a transfer to another squad which I knew didn’t smoke like that…..
    You people who say oh it’s no big deal people can function ok, lol lol lol you don’t know jack…every day weed use is not a good thing….

    • ***

      Its not the 1980s anymore though and they could also just not smoke at work…its called being a responsible pot head

  • 9 Volt

    I thought smoking was bad, but smoking cannabis is good and promoted and seen as a sign of freedom and progress. How does that work? If cigarettes make smokers “feel better”, why is that overlooked and ignored? Why is one promoted and the other demonized?

    • ***

      One is overlooked (cigarettes) because you’re also smoking harmful chemicals and the 2nd hand smoke which also contains all these harmful chemicals are being inhaled by those who choose not to smoke. Smoking cigarettes also have no health benefits. While Marijuana is as close to natural as you can get, no added chemicals. Smoking anything will cause cancer, but there have also been multiple health benefits to smoking marijuana which include reducing seizures in children, alleviating depression and anxiety, pain management in which opiates would be prescribed for treatment, it helps with PTSD, helps with the side affects of cancer, helps those who have sleeping issues and other painful medical conditions such as fibromyalgia.

      • Weed is over-rated

        Mrijuana has “natural” chemicals that can be harmful if burned.

        You dont think that stuff builds up in your lungs.

  • RicU.

    As soon as Colorado made recreational use legal, the war to legal became a stampede. PA has lost the war. Even if PA doesn’t legalize recreational use, it is so prevalent now and so many neighboring state are going to legalizing recreational use, the product will flood the market. The grey wolves can then go back to copping pleas for endangering 9 year old girls.

    One bad point, if recreational marijuana use becomes legal in PA, the tax income from alcohol sales will plummet. The problem is the increased use of marijuana which we will cover later.

  • magicmikexxsm

    Local Cannabis Connoisseurs Hope for Legalization….
    Oh wonderful, lets make it legal so you can smoke anytime….and be high all the time…just what we need driving down the road, I now have to contend with Drunk Drivers, Bad Drivers, and maybe High Drivers on weed….

    Okay for med reasons like cancer and things but no not for everyday use by idiots.

    • Keep Ignorance In The Stone Age

      You do realize people drive high already all the time, right? It doesnt impair you like hmmm, I dunno….alcohol? You also seem to think legalizing it will mean everyone and their brother AND their dog will be high 24/7? Thats not how it works. Its legal in several states already and there are no such problems. Do some research before you let your ignorance leak out.

      • buzzed driver

        No problems ? Colorado is realizing their mistake , influx of worthless folk alll because a clouded mind is what is good to them . IGNORENCE is what you are , keep smoking , keep in a cloud . It is Federally illegal , so as that no state has any business promoting or taxing it . Pot will just add to decay in neighborhoods just as the gambling brought in druggies and prostitutes where it was legalized . Pot will just add to the drug epidemic we face now .

      • magicmikexxsm

        KEEP IGNORANCE IN THE STONE AGE……
        And use that pot infused brain of yours and look up the long term effects that Co. is now starting to see because of everyday use….

    • Jim Heffner

      Stop making things up and look them up instead. The accident rates related to Cannabis use are are not increasing in the more legal states. The negative projections by prohibitionists and obstructionists do not take place. You can cherry pick the socially conservative media and find all kinds of specious claims about the effects of Cannabis use but for some reason the follow ups that successfully refute these claims by peer review get ignored and you keep repeating the false claims.
      Somewhere between the age of 3 and 7 most children learn to differentiate between fact and fiction. Start acting your age. “Reefer Madness” is not a documentary.

      • Jim Heffner

        Bloviating? I’d say I was rather brief and succinct. I’m not going to instruct you in how to conduct research using various search engines. How do you know it’s detrimental if they don’t test for it? Ignorance is just a lack of information but taking pride in that lack is stupid.

    • Steve Mosher (@sinsibility)

      I think everyone advocating legalization agrees with you about everyday use by idiots.
      Conveniently, most stoners are above average intelligence, while many people who are against it are having a natural reaction of confusion and disbelief when they realize gov’t has deliberately misinformed them for political reasons, for decades. Then they ask, “What else have they lied to us about?!”

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