Radical Rant: This Is The Most Offensive Flower In Philadelphia


The Philadelphia Flower Show comes to the City of Brotherly Love in March, but there’s no love for the most controversial flower in America—cannabis.

The annual event is hosted by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. It’s understandable that actual cannabis flowers would not be on display. Pennsylvania remains one of the Notorious Nine prohibition states that criminalize any interaction with the plant.

But that’s not what was planned by Skip Shuda of Green Rush Advisors and Chris Goldstein of Philly NORML. They had planned to have an informational booth about cannabis featuring photos of the flower, since its open display is illegal.

At least, that’s the impression from the report from Philly Voice. Alan Jaffe, a spokesperson for the horticultural society, said the whole issue was simply “an honest misunderstanding.”

Goldstein from NORML said he’d been working to recruit volunteers for the event, who he claims “would have been told not to get political.”

Politics seem to be the reason the cannabis display has been nixed from the flower show. In an earlier report on NJ.com, Jaffe recalled a blog post from Philly NORML that promised “the need for legal reform” and “a state-wide decriminalization initiative” would be part of “converting skeptics and educating people” at the show.

“The idea of the marketplace is to support horticultural endeavors,” Jaffe told NJ.com, “not get across political agendas.”

Perhaps the activists got a bit too excited about the flower show and advanced the political agenda too far, too quick. Whether Jaffe and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society would have allowed the cannabis flower display to proceed, sans politics, is unknown.

But how does one talk about the cannabis flower at the show—it being the only flower shown only as photographs among a sea of living flowers—and not mention its legal status?

Would the flower show deliver information about certain flowers and their response to record drought in parts of America? Water rights and climate change are laden with political opinion, too, but those would be prime subjects for a flower aficionado to wonder about, no?

It’s farcical that the fear and stigma around the cannabis plant has become so strong that we can’t even talk about its flower at a flower show.

It certainly has nothing to do with cannabis being a psychoactive substance. After all, last year’s show featured, in addition to lush roses, “hostas, lilies, geraniums, a bevy of begonias, poppies and salvia surrounding the pools flanking the marquee.”

We’ll just see next time if removing the politics can get cannabis its day at the Philadelphia Flower Show, but I’m betting next year, the horticultural society will manufacture another excuse.

(Photo Courtesy of CannabisGrowing.Wordpress.com)


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