Pot smokers light up, flame out, for sixth time

Chuck Szeidel lights up outside the protest at the People's Plaza. Rikard Larma/METRO
Chuck Szeidel lights up outside the protest at People’s Plaza. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

Under a black umbrella, Ciera Gardner adjusted her fuzzy tiara that read “Happy Birthday.”

She spent the afternoon of her 20th birthday marching with a group of marijuana legalization protesters through the rain-washed streets of Philly.

“Why the f— not?” she said with a shrug. “It’s a great birthday. I’d be smoking pot at my house anyway, you know?”

She missed the last Smoke Down Prohibition protest on May 18 that quickly erupted into a smack-down. About five champions of legislation, who lit up at 4:20 p.m. in protest of the drug’s prohibition, were arrested.

But on Sunday, Gardner walked the whole route, which started at LOVE Park and ended at the People’s Plaza open space beside the Liberty Bell. This was the sixth monthly protest.

“I think its a shame we’re trying this hard to get a plant legalized,” she said. “It’s rainy as s— and people are this dedicated to come out here.”

At the plaza Sunday afternoon, in the shadow of Independence Hall, about 200 stoners huffed, and puffed, but couldn’t blow the park rangers away. About 10 were given citations for using a controlled substance in a federal park.

Chuck Szeidel parked his wheelchair adorned with an American flag on the fringe of the chaos.

Wearing only a damp hooded sweatshirt, he looked to the heavens and shrugged.

“A little water ain’t gonna kill,” he said. “Just like a little weed ain’t gonna kill ya.”


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