If anyone was ready to smoke a joint on Wednesday night, it was Larry Krasner.
Instead, the Philadelphia district attorney, toward the end of his work day, talked about how the local marijuana legalization movement affects the social determinants of health in the area, at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Section on Public Health and Preventative Medicine’s quarterly Philadelphia Public Health Grand Rounds event.
The College of Physicians panel discussion — with an esteemed panel of doctors, professors of psychiatry and cannabis entrepreneurs all focusing on marijuana and its effects on Philadelphia’s public health — came after a 24 hour battle with U.S. President Donald Trump. The debate, started by the President Tuesday during a campaign rally in Hershey, found Trump telling crowd that Krasner was “the worst district attorney,” after bringing up Philly’s non-cooperation towards U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“I’ve been hearing about this guy,” Trump said, as reported by The Morning Call. “He lets killers out almost immediately… get yourself a new prosecutor.” Trump went on to bring up criminal illegal aliens with prior deportations roaming free in Pennsylvania because of Krasner’s supposed inaction. (Krasner is in good company considering that Trump also mocked Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg by Tweet for her Time Magazine “Person of the Year” victory with “So ridiculous”).
To this point, DA Krasner held a press conference Wednesday afternoon where he accused Trump of wrongly rallying rural sections of Pennsylvania to loathe the diversity of Philadelphia, and its city rich with immigrants. Before inviting Trump to meet with the DA while the president was in town for the Army-Navy game on Saturday, Krasner said that Philadelphia has something for him. “We are going to make sure that you lose Pennsylvania and we are going to make sure you do not return for a second term. You are not going to undermine and destroy our democracy and you are not going to stop the good and progressive district attorneys around this country from bringing meaningful criminal justice reform that is right, just and appropriate.”
By Wednesday’s end, Krasner was ready to talk about marijuana legalization, how it affects the social determinants of health with a focus on marginalized groups and teens, and how all this figures into his plan to drop low-level drug charges in favor of addiction treatment.
The Public Health and Preventative Medicine’s Public Health Grand Rounds panel included Jeffrey Hom, MD (Policy Advisor, Office of the Health Commissioner; Philadelphia Department of Public Health), Andrew M. Peterson, PharmD, PhD (Executive Director, Substance Use Disorders Institute; Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Health Policy, University of the Sciences), J. Cobb Scott, PhD; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania) and Dewey Thomas, Director of Special Projects; Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities.
Before speaking to the packed house at the College of Physicians on S. 22nd Street, Thomas, a vice president of sales for Green Dandelion, spoke cheerfully of the entrepreneurial history of cannabis going back to the days of the Transatlantic Slave Trade when ship sails were made of hemp. “It’s interesting to see where this whole green ‘gold rush’ is going at present,” said Thomas, noting the potential good and the bad in pharmacopeia, self-medicinal herbs and cannabis. “As with any rush, you have the speculators, the charlatans and those chasing after fool’s gold.”
After stopping to admire Thomas’ marijuana leaf lapel pin, Krasner spoke to Metro about his words to the panel and the assembled crowd at the College about how Philly can best be served by progressive marijuana laws.
“We no longer prosecute when it comes to marijuana – we have turned it into a ticket – and we are close to decriminalization,” said Krasner, pointing out Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s call for legalizing recreational marijuana back in September.
Along with mentioning how its legal sale’s potential tax revenue could one day fund Philly’s public schools as in Colorado and how marijuana’s responsible adult usage could be medically beneficial — certainly less of of a health issue than alcohol — Krasner couldn’t help but throw one more dig at the president. “Plus, marijuana is not as harmful to the human mind as watching Donald Trump on television on a daily basis.”