In California, it would seem that we’ve fully embraced the 420 lifestyle – whether we use cannabis or not. From dating meetups to marijuana dinner parties Californians aren’t shy about talking about – and using – pot.
In Philadelphia, however, marijuana can still get someone a misdemeanor. A police raid on an underground ‘pot party‘ (or ‘smokeasy’ if you like puns) has recently shown that the war on drugs is still a thing. NA Poe, real name Richard Tamaccio, is a marijuana advocate living in Philadelphia – where weed is still illegal. There have been steps toward decriminalizing it; ‘The city law directs police to process possession of 30 grams (about an ounce) or less as a civil offense rather than a criminal one. Simply carrying it is a $25 fine; smoking in public is a $100 fine.’
But that didn’t keep Tamaccio from being arrested; leaving him scrambling to get together money for his $250,000 bail.
Tamaccio had organized one of his well-known pot parties (also known as Philly Smoke Sessions) where people paid $50 to get in, and once there would have an array of marijuana products to buy – everything from edibles to flowers.
The police made a total of 22 arrests and investigators confiscated 50 pounds of marijuana, 100 pounds of cannabis edibles, about $50,000 in cash, and several handguns.
Tamaccio and his girlfriend, Rachael Friedman, received the most severe charges. ‘Both were charged with seven counts: possession with intent to deliver; conspiracy; causing or risking catastrophe; possession of a controlled substance; use or possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of an instrument of crime; and recklessly endangering another person.’
If convicted, this could result in jail time. Because marijuana is still illegal, it’s easy to see how these charges got so serious, so fast – possession of a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession with intent to deliver are all the result of simply having marijuana.
The laws are slowly changing across many states, but for now – if you use cannabis and are used to California laws and the newly passed prop. 64 – make sure to leave your stash at home if you need to take a trip to Philly.