Sheepish bureaucrats in pressed khakis presented their official IDs to volunteers as DCMJ officials barked the play-by-play over a megaphone. Wonky congressional reporters shuffled about beside local potheads who inquired whether they absolutely needed to be a congressional employee to get a J.
But even after the House version of the bill was advanced by a subcommittee, neither it nor a companion Senate bill ever managed to get committee approval, much less come up for a vote on the floor.
DCMJ is also asking Congress to end the federal prohibition against marijuana and allow states to determine their own laws moving forward. That's the same boat Gerald Finn, of Bethlehem, is in, and he's been using for marijuana for 47 years, he said. The event for April 20, a holiday celebrated by pot enthusiasts, was to give people in Congress marijuana and raise awareness. "I'm not the only one ― it's not just white guys with long hair that smoke weed, man".
Advocates plan to light up joints on the steps of the U.S. Capitol next week. The answer is complicated.
The action scheduled for Thursday afternoon is intended as a protest against federal interference with states that have legal pot. "This was meant to be a free speech event and was meant to influence members of Congress". DCMJ is the group behind Initiative 71, a 2015 law which legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in DC. While someone may be inclined to take advantage of Washington's consumption laws in one of its attractive parks, numerous District's outdoor spaces are actually managed by the Interior Department.
Eidinger and DCMJ members pulled a similar stunt for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, when protesters marched to the Capitol and gave away 4,200 marijuana gifts. The joint handout began again shortly thereafter.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested seven activists and confiscated about 1,000 joints from marijuana activists on Thursday during a 4/20 "celebration". Activists say they were within their rights, but Capitol Police didn't see it that way. "As of 2:30 p.m., one adult male and two adult female arrestees were charged with possession with intent to distribute. Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books".
Davis said it is immoral to put police in the position of having to arrest someone using marijuana for medical reasons.
"I don't think it's the public we need to convince", he said. "It's not a big deal". According to DCist, DCMJ members were sitting a table giving away the joints, but even though giving away weed is entirely legal in D.C., they were tripped up by a technicality: they were on federal lands, which made it a crime.
The Washingtonian notes Congress is now in recess.