Philadelphia magazine, the venerable publication covering all things Philadelphia for more than 100 years, has long had its finger on the pulse of the city of cheesesteaks, the Fresh Prince and Rocky Balboa. With all the movement on the issue in recent years, it’s no wonder this month’s cover features an overflowing jar of cannabis buds with the simple headline “Pot is Coming.”
Pot is indeed coming to the City of Brotherly Love, which with its population of 1.5 million residents and growing, in September became the largest city in the United States to decriminalize weed after the Philadelphia City Council overwhelmingly approved it with a 13-3 vote in May. As of October, possession of 30 grams or less in the city carries a civil fine of $25.
But signs point to full legalization as a real possibility. A recent Facebook poll conducted by Philadelphia magazine showed a whopping 90 percent of respondents favored full legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania, and one in four Philadelphians admitted to smoking cannabis on a daily basis. So clearly the city, or at the very least, Philly Mag’s social media followers, love them some ganja.
The issue is packed with marijuana-centric stories. In the cover story, “Pot Is Coming, Philadelphia!” by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood, the author notes that although Philly itself is champing at the bit to get its hands sticky and its foot in the door of what is sure to be a lucrative legal marijuana industry, Pennsylvania as a whole is a bit of a harder sell.
“Pennsylvania, as it was with gay marriage, figures to be in the middle of the pack when it gets on board. According to recent polling, 85 percent of the state’s population favors legalized medical marijuana; somewhere between 35 and 50 percent favor outright legalization. And Philly can’t become Boulder-on-the-Schuylkill until Pennsylvania, its leaden-footed older brother, gets with the program.”
The issue also features 11 local movers and shakers whose efforts are paving the way for full legalization. From politicians (like State Senator Daylin Leach who co-sponsored legislation to legalize both medical and recreational pot.) To activists such as comedian N.A. Poe and PhillyNORML co-chair Chris Goldstein, who have been arrested holding annual “Smoke Down Prohibition” rallies at which hundreds would light up outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in defiance of the laws.
Another piece features an interview with an unnamed Philly pot dealer who breaks down the economics of how legalization won’t be putting dealers out of business, and how like in most retail trades, presentation and reputation are what bring in the customers and money.
Wrote the dealer:
“The market is going to be flooded as soon as legalization comes. Who stands out the most? The person who has the best package or the funniest name for a strain, or who makes the most delicious edibles; the person who makes the body oils and lotions that not only get you stoned but make your hair and skin smell good. We’re going beyond the point of who makes the strongest strain. It’s designer weed — weed that fits the buyer’s personality.”
“Can I Bring Ganja to a Dinner Party” addresses a host of etiquette issues surrounding an increasingly broadly tolerated marijuana, offering tips and opinions on issues ranging from parenting and marijuana use, to hosting and attending dinner partiers where marijuana will be on offer.
Stoners passing newsstands in Philly are sure to do a double take at this month’s cover, as they likely did back in July of 2010 when the cover featured a huge single marijuana leaf in recognition of the city’s decriminalization.