Marijuana activist campaigning for Council on Libertarian ticket

Richard Tamaccio1
Richard Tamaccio posted this to Facebook yesterday with the caption #sentencingselfie. A much different look than May 18.

Philadelphia's Libertarian Party on Monday selected a marijuana legalization activist currently on federal probation as its candidate for the May 20 special election for an at-large City Council seat.

The party filed a nomination certificate for Richard Tamaccio this afternoon, according to the Philadelphia Board of Elections.  Tamaccio, a comedian who uses the stage name "n.a. Poe," filed a ballot name change affidavit seeking to list himself on the ballot as Nikki Allen Poe, the Board of Elections said.

Tamaccio, 34, who this week registered to vote as a Libertarian, said via email that he "will be attacking the Local 98 machine and running a grassroots peoples campaign."

The city's Democratic ward leaders last month selected state Rep. Ed Neilson, a former political director for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, as their candidate.  The Republican ward leaders selected attorney Matt Wolfe, a West Philly ward leader, as their candidate.

Tamaccio helped organize "Smoke Down Prohibition" rallies at the Independence National Historic Park. He was arrested on May 18 at the event and later admitted smoking marijuana and then resisting arrest by U.S. Park Rangers.

He was sentenced on Dec. 13 to one year of probation with routine drug testing.  A probation report file in federal court on Jan. 27 said Tamaccio told a probation officer "he had been using marijuana 'virtually every day' until Dec. 11" but intended to "refrain from marijuana use" while on probation.

The Council at-large seat is vacant because former Councilman Bill Green IV, a Democrat, resigned in February to become chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

The city's three certified political parties -- Democrat, Republican and Libertarian -- are allowed to nominate a candidate for the special election. Other third-party groups and independents must gather the signatures of 1,785 registered voters in the city by next Tuesday to qualify for the ballot.