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Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival Attracts 40,000

A festival supporting legal marijuana for adult use in the Keystone State was a success over the weekend in Berks County

Brian Allen, 2015

A festival supporting legal marijuana for adult use in the Keystone State was a success over the weekend in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

People flocked to the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival at Renninger’s Farmers Market in Kutztown, reports WFMZ. The festival, held Saturday and Sunday, featured more than 250 vendors, live music, and discussion panels.

Medical Cannabis was legalized in Pennsylvania back in 2016.

More Than 100 Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

In the four years since medical marijuana became available to authorized patients in Pennsylvania, the industry has established more than 100 dispensaries across the state. Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported more than 633,000 patients and caregivers had been certified to buy medical Cannabis.

Meanwhile, the weed industry rang up $3.4 billion in sales, reports The Morning Call.

Bordering states such as New York and New Jersey have legalized marijuana use for adults. But in Pennsylvania, possession of as little as an ounce is a criminal offense that can carry jail time; selling or growing the plant is a felony.

A 2021 Franklin and Marshall University poll revealed 60% of Pennsylvanians say the time has come to end criminal penalties for weed. And with state leaders including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman pushing to legalize adult use in Pennsylvania, decriminalizing marijuana appears more likely than ever.

Among the stalls, national marijuana growers and distributors displayed packages of marijuana flowers and edibles for medicinal use. Local head shops sold tapestries of pot leaf motifs.

The Grateful Dead’s signature dancing bears were in evidence, along with pipes and other smoking devices. And, of course, the distinctive scent of marijuana smoke mingled with music in the air.

Buying Legally Would Be Easier, Safer

Beside a stall selling bongs at ”Pocono 420,” Edgar from Allentown, who declined to give his last name, from Asmoked weed rolled in a tobacco leaf wrapper — a blunt.

“I think they should go for it,” he said of the move toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. “They’re making money from us anyway. Let us go get it the right way.”

Others at the festival described themselves as curious newbies. Rachel, who also declined to give her full name, looked at a display of pot edibles. While she said weed is easy enough to buy now, doing so legally would be easier and safer.

Equity Is Crucial

When the adult-use weed market emerges in Pennsylvania, some are ready to ensure local people get a share of the business. But out-of-state corporations have sometimes quickly seized control of the emergent industry in newly legal states.

Dewey Thomas of Philadelphia said equity is crucial for minority populations that have suffered incarceration associated with marijuana in American history.

Pot Profits for Pennsylvanians is a coalition of advocacy groups working for equity in Pennsylvania’s marijuana industry.

Adult-use Cannabis is poised to become a massive consumer product. And 4/20 — a date that’s become associated with celebrating weed — is bigger than Mother’s Day, Thomas noted. Profit opportunities for Pennsylvanians could be transformative, he said.

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