This year the Annual PhillyNORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Picnic & BBQ will be taking place on Saturday, August 14, 2010, from 12 – 4 pm, at Clark Park (43rd St. and Chester Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104). This yearly event brings together local NORML activists for some fun and intellectual conversation, food, and enjoying the great Clark Park.
I attended my first PhillyNORML meeting in March, where I met amazing people such as Chris Goldstein, Robert Dougherty, Casey Goldsmith, Derek Rosenzweig, and Timothy Graham. Their passion and commitment to the reform of marijuana laws was nothing less than inspirational. We hit the ground running, discussing the passing of legislation in NJ for the use of medicinal marijuana. Next the group was updated on the status of legislation in PA. The meeting consisted of brainstorming on issues of fundraising, local events, and rallies. The small group of volunteers are making a big splash when it comes to reforming our laws. Sadly this was the only meeting I was able to attend due to severe health issues. I hope to become a regular attender once my health recovers. But for those who have some free time, and want to get involved, I highly recommend the meetings (or search for a chapter closer to you).
The matter of legalizing marijuana is one that hits close to home for me. I suffer from several chronic health problems with symptoms that include sever weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, pain, and fatigue to name a few. I am on a slew of pharmaceuticals prescribed by my doctors, while they try to find a solution to my health problems. Each medical professional I have seen has agreed that the use of marijuana for such symptoms is helpful, and that other patients do the same. But with the legal system as it is, there is no way to receive this natural herbal remedy under a physician’s care in a legal manner. It’s perplexing that a healing herb which has been used for thousands of years for a myriad of ailments is banned by the law. One could watch a handful of documentaries to see the corruption that leads to this, and creates a dangerous underground market. It begs the question, why do laws ban a natural herbal substance that can be easily grown and combat several ailments at once, and replace the need for so many pharmaceuticals? I think we know the answer to that one unfortunately…just look to pills such as Marinol to see the irony of the whole situation.
To get more educated on the history of marijuana laws check out the following documentaries and site:
The Union: Business Behind Getting High
The War on Drugs: The Last White Hope
And of course check out http://www.phillynorml.org/ for answers to all your questions on loads of pertinent information!
As I anticipate the picnic as a chance to exchange thoughts with like minds, I also hope it’s a sign of future hope. I imagine a world where marijuana is a regulated herb, such as what we see with alcohol. This would allow the millions dealing with health issues and those who enjoy recreational use to stop hiding in fear or getting mixed up in illegal activities. Let’s hope this is the decade where we will resolve this issue once and for all. And at least for now, we can enjoy some good BBQ!
If you’re in the local Philadelphia area and plan to go, send me an email so we can meet up. Would love to meet other supporters!
I’ll leave you with some poetic truth, Bob Marley style: