We are so excited to be back in Lancaster to kick off the Hemp Freedom Tour!
Lancaster is where it all started. Our first rally was on December 8, 2012 and we launched the 2013 Hemp Freedom Tour from Lancaster in the summer of that year.
Altogether we have rallied five times in Lancaster This will be the sixth time that we have gathered on Penn Square to stand up for common sense cannabis and hemp reform on a local, state and national level.
Right now, we focus our attention and efforts on the two main battles that are currently being waged in the state of Pennsylvania - medical cannabis and industrial hemp.
Medical cannabis is crucial and immediate. As of this moment, we expect that the State Government Committee will send Senate Bill 3, the medical cannabis bill, to the Senate floor for a vote the week of 4/20. Sometime shortly after that, possibly that same week or within another two weeks, we expect the state Senate to pass SB 3 overwhelmingly. We predict a vote of at least 43-7 and it may be 45-5 in favor.
Then, the bill will be sent to the state House of Representatives and they will be considering this right around the time we hit the streets in Lancaster.
That's where we come in.
There is some stubborn resistance from some in the House, including those in some key leadership positions. They want to cripple and weaken the bill, over-regulate it, limit it and make it practically ineffective.
We will demonstrate strong support for a robust, comprehensive medical cannabis bill that includes an expanded list of conditions, whole plant, home grow, vaporization and whatever effective method of ingestion desired. We will urge the most immediate passage of SB 3 in it's most inclusive form.
The other immediate battle is Industrial Hemp. In February of this year legislation was finally introduced by State Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County to allow for industrial hemp farming in Pa.! It is called SB 50 and is currently sitting in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
Also, next week a bill will also be introduced to the House and will be assigned to the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee. There is increasing interest right now in both chambers of the General Assembly and word is that hemp actually has a chance and we may very well put the HEMP back in HEMPFIELD!!!
We will demonstrate that as a community, Lancaster County strongly supports our farmers right to grow hemp! KCC effectively lobbied to have both bills introduced and we will tell you all about our bills, our efforts to advance the bills, and what YOU can do to help us get these bills passed.
A third topic we will discuss is the decriminalization of cannabis.
After rally season last year, we had a chance to work with Lancaster City Council to pass a resolution in favor of medical cannabis. In that dialogue we also talked about support for decriminalization of cannabis. Although they did not pass a decrim resolution, they promised to keep the dialogue open and ongoing. We believe that Lancaster can once again take the lead and pass a resolution of support for statewide decriminalization. The Lancaster DA should support decrim as well and so should the police and community organizations.
Of course, the recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 51% of Pennsylvanians support the legalization, taxation and regulation of cannabis as seen in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C.
Although the Pa. legislature does not want to address the issue at the current time, we believe that a discussion of the merits of full legalization should definitely proceed in a mature manner. With emerging majority support on this issue in Pennsylvania, the people should not be expected to remain silent on the matter. We will discuss.
We hope to see all of you there as we make this our most successful rally yet!
Tell everyone you know, share and invite your friends and spread the word that CHANGE IS COMING TO PENNSYLVANIA!