A video of Michael Marcavage of the Philadelphia-based evangelical group Repent America frantically attempting to shut down a 4/20 pot-smoking celebration near the city's historic Independence Hall went viral this week, picking up traction on social networking sites such as Reddit.
In the video -- shot by Marcarvage on April 20, a significant day for marijuana advocates -- the evangelist who was reportedly on hand to share the "gospel of Jesus Christ" is heard questioning park rangers on why they aren't arresting a large group of attendees who appear to be smoking marijuana, an illegal substance under federal law.
One ranger tells him that the gathering has "a permit with the parks" to congregate in the space. Marcarvage frustratedly notes that they haven't technically been sanctioned to smoke weed and asks to speak with a supervisor. Marcarvage then presses the supervising ranger, who tells him that dispersing the crowd would constitute "an officer safety issue."
"We don't have the resources to combat that right now," the officer says. "There's probably upwards of 500 to 700 people over there."
According to the Daily Chronic, the event was celebrated without incident. The same organizers have reportedly planned another "civil disobedience demonstration" in the same location in May, where they'll presumably force the authorities to again consider the risks and rewards of enforcement against a large and usually peaceable gathering.
Pennsylvania marijuana reformers have made inroads in the past couple years. The city of Philadelphia decriminalized small amounts of pot in 2010, though public use remains illegal. State Sen. Daylin Leach (D) also introduced a statewide marijuana legalization measure earlier this year, though it hasn't yet been considered.