The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is meant to be a temporary display of horticultural splendor -- not, er, a chronic one.
So, the show organizers put the kibosh on a display that was to tout the legalization of marijuana. Turns out blooms are welcome, bud not so much.
Philly NORML, a pro-legalization group, was urging volunteers to join a booth at the show organized by Green Rush Advisors. But Alan Jaffe, a spokesman for Flower Show organizer Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said it had already been told it wouldn't be welcome.
"They told the people that coordinate the booths in the marketplace that they would not have any advocacy materials regarding legalization of marijuana of the show, so they accepted the application. They misrepresented what they're going to do," Jaffe said. "We've told them they can't be part of the Flower Show."
The group, Jaffe said, had claimed it would be selling gardening supplies. But in a blog post, it promoted a different message: "This is a ground-breaking opportunity for all cannabis activists to reach and educate a huge number of influencers. We’re cooking up some prime educational pieces, we’ll be rolling out a state-wide decriminalization initiative, we’ll be converting skeptics, and educating people who have only ever known 'reefer madness.'"
Apparently, that's not what PHS is going for this year. Jaffe said: "We try to stay nonpolitical in who we bring into the Flower Show and who we partner with, and we want to avoid this topic completely. We don't want anybody to be offended."
Skip Shuda of Green Rush Advisors, which is a local cannabis advocacy group, said he was involved but could not comment.
Update, Feb. 24: Jaffe revised his comments following conversation with Green Rush Advisors. “This was a case of misunderstanding, not intentional misrepresentation,” he said in an email. He added, “They did [say they would be selling gardening supplies], and that would have been part of their Marketplace booth. But they also had been in conversation with our coordinators about what they could say regarding advocacy for legalization. They were still trying to find a way to make it acceptable for the Flower Show, but by early this week we found it wasn’t possible. “