A rally for new marijuana laws

    Pot smokers use April 20th – Four-Twenty Day – to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis.

    Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana and similar bills have support in Trenton and Harrisburg. Pot smokers marked Cannabis Awareness Day on Monday at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.

    Listen:

    [audio:090420temedical.mp3]

    Georgine DiMaria was Miss New Jersey in 2006, and has suffered from asthma since childhood. She says this is the first time she’s publicly revealed that she’s a medical marijuana user. DiMaria says vaporized marijuana works as a muscle relaxer to open her airways.

    But DiMaria doesn’t have access to the drug in New Jersey, so she’s uses high-dose prescription steroids, which she says have serious side effects. DiMaria rejects the concern that marijuana is a gateway for harder drug use.

    DiMaria: We’re not walking around getting stoned all the time, we’re very accomplished people, the patients who use it, we’re just using it to feel a sense of normalcy to get our lives back.

    The Obama Administration has bolstered the push to legalize medical marijuana. The Attorney General has said federal agents won’t crack down on medical marijuana distributors who are following state law.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.