A marijuana legalization activist has released a video of himself smoking marijuana on the steps of the Philadelphia School District's administration building in an effort to highlight funds that legalized — and taxed — marijuana could provide the school district.
The video, called "Pot for Teacher," takes viewers on a 3-minute tour of the financial problems facing the district. That title, by the way, is a play on the Van Halen tune "Hot for Teacher," whose opening riffs are featured.
"Why am I dressed like a community college philosophy professor you ask?" N.A. Poe tells the camera. "Because we’re going to be smoking this joint outside philadelphia school district headquarters, a district in dire straits that could really use some home grown economic stimulus."
It's true that a tax regime could be boon to state or local coffers. In Colorado, fees and taxes associated with marijuana brought in $102 million in fiscal year 2014-2015, according to documents in that state.
While most of those taxes go into Colorado's general fund, a 15 percent levy on wholesalers has been directed to school construction, according to USA Today.
Philadelphia decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in September. People caught with under 30 grams — about an ounce — are given tickets rather than being put in handcuffs.
Despite being on school property, it's unclear if Poe could face criminal repercussions for smoking on school property.
Despite decriminalization, marijuana remains illegal at the state level, and there are — potentially —enhanced penalties for possession of marijuana on school grounds.
Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia said he was unable to interpret the state to determine whether the administrative offices count as a school, but he noted that the building does have classrooms for the Philadelphia Virtual Academy, a cyber school.
Poe, for his part, has tempted the fates before. His Smokedown 420 series led a protest of marijuana activists in June that saw hundreds of people smoking marijuana as they marched down the street -- accompanied by the Philadelphia Police Department's Civil Affairs Unit.
"I’m not naive enough to think that I have the answers to the problem," Poe said, "but I know cannibis can be part of the solution."