Buzzes Harshed At Joint Session, But Activists Continue Giveaway After Arrests
Seven people were arrested for marijuana near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, April 20, as they took part in a joint giveaway aimed at pressuring Congress to legalize cannabis.The activists, allied with pro-legalization group DCMJ, were busted for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, reports Rob Hotakainen of McClatchy Washington Bureau. Four more were charged with simple possession, according to Eva Malecki of the U.S. Capitol Police.
The seven were arrested at the “1st Annual Joint Session” after cops saw them giving away marijuana to passersby at the intersection of First and Constitution in D.C. “Under federal law, it is unlawful to possess marijuana,” Malecki said.
“We did not expect that,” said Adam Eidinger, head of DCMJ. ““This is D.C. land. Those people were well within their rights.”
Eidinger and others with DCMJ used another supply of marijuana to continue the joint giveaway, reports Justin Wm. Moyer at The Washington Post.Nikolas Schiller of DCMJ said the joint giveaway was for Capitol Hill staffers and the media. He said all seven people arrested were on D.C. land, not federal land.
“We firmly believe that these politically motivated arrests were directly ordered by the U.S. Capitol Police chief in an attempt to suppress Americans’ right to free speech and peaceful demonstration,” said Schiller. He called the arrests “an unlawful violation of our most basic civil liberties.”
Capitol Smoke-In Scheduled For High Noon, Monday, April 24
DCMJ is unbowed. They plan a public smoke-in at the Capitol at high noon on Monday, April 24.
“Due to these politically motivated arrests, certain individuals will be wrongfully barred from peacefully participating in DCMJ’s #Reschedule420 Smoke-In at the Capitol,” Schiller said. “We call on legalization activists from across the country to join us on Monday as we urge Congress to support the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (H.R. 1227), which would finally put an end to the federal prohibition of cannabis.”
“Today, 71 percent of Americans don’t want an crackdown on DC- and state-legal cannabis,” Schiller said. “They want Congress to end cannabis prohibition once and for all. Giving adults access to cannabis and individuals and small businesses legal protection in DC and in all 50 states is what the American people have been asking for—just take one good look at last year’s election.
“It is time Congress remove cannabis from its Schedule I classification—and act,” Schiller said. “Elected officials and law enforcement should start making informed choices based on facts, rather than alternative facts and propaganda.“If Speaker Ryan and other elected officials continue their inaction, which is preventing responsible cannabis laws from being enacted at the federal level, they can only expect a major backlash from the voters for continuing to ruin lives, denying patients and veterans access to alternatives treatments, and putting a legitimate DC- and state-legal, $56 billion industry and tens of thousands of jobs in jeopardy,” Schiller said.
“DCMJ will continue to work actively to encourage Congress to maintain current laws and enact future legislation protecting states rights that grant the legal use of cannabis in the U.S. and the District of Columbia,” Schiller said. “DCMJ is confident that today’s arrests would not hold up in court because our members were lawfully and appropriately using their civil liberties under, given to them under the U.S. Constitution.”