Stressed out about the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump? Don’t worry, some pro-marijuana advocates in Washington, D.C. have something for you to take the edge off — and its free.
The pro-cannabis organization DCMJ is holding a special event, The Inaugural #Trump420, on the West Side of DuPont Circle (RSVP on Facebook!). The fun begins at 8 a.m. with coffee and tea and is followed by a march down to the National Mall.
But it’s not a pro-marijuana event without a “420” reference and this one doesn’t disappoint. Organizers will be handing out 4,200 joints to adults in attendance and, later, at four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech, everyone will light up — unless Trump comes out in support of federal legalization of marijuana.
DCMJ co-founder and director of communications Nikolas Schiller told Mashable the event isn’t a protest against Trump but, rather, “about raising awareness about cannabis reform and getting Trump to support the full legalization of cannabis throughout the United States.”
Trump’s stance on marijuana legalization has, like many of his views, been all over the map during his campaign. In April 2015, he suggested legalization should be decided by the states. A few months later, he seemed to back away from that, suggesting such legalization was bad unless you’re talking about medical marijuana which he totally supports.
Got it? Cool.
So what’s the deal D.C.? In November 2014, D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 which legalized marijuana in D.C.
But, as Schiller noted, Washington, D.C. isn’t a state and, since the law’s passing, several Debbie Downers have locked down tight restrictions that make D.C. a far cry from legalized states like Colorado.
For instance. U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) played the narc by slipping in a rider into the city’s budget — Congress is responsible for D.C.’s budget —that banned buying and selling marijuana within the city.
Additionally, the D.C. city council later approved restrictions on smoking in public places, meaning private residences are the only place D.C. dwellers can spark up. Per the law, adults in D.C. are also allowed to grow and keep six plants (twelve for a couple) and possess up to two ounces.
These restrictions not only cut D.C. out of that sweet, sticky marijuana tourism money, but also results in confusion for visitors who aren’t aware of the restrictions. Schiller said DCMJ receives phone calls from incoming tourists “every day” seeking information as to where they can buy marijuana while in D.C.
Besides reform of these restrictions, DCMJ’s other main battle is against U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Trump’s nominee for Attorney General. Sessions is a staunch opponent of anything to do with legal marijuana and, at an April hearing on marijuana legalization, laid down some harsh vibes by saying, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
(He’s is also haunted by allegations, which he has denied, that he once said he was okay with the Ku Klux Klan until he found out they smoked pot.)
Sessions has already been on the receiving end of DCMJ’s protests, including one on Tuesday as members of the 115th Congress made their way back to work.
“We’ve made it too far to have all the progress rolled back,” Schiller said.
As for the Inauguration Day, Schiller said he’s “expecting hundreds” for the event, but added it could be more, given the attention the event has received.
One note, though: if you plan on going to the event to set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul, be aware you could be arrested.
Once at the mall, Schiller said the gathering will be situated closer to the Washington Monument so as to avoid the crowds and security checkpoints for official inauguration guests. Still, the mall is federal land and smoking marijuana is illegal there.
But Schiller takes an open approach to attendees. “It’s an individual choice. We’re not saying that if you’re going to be with us, you have to smoke. We want people to choose the battles that they want to choose themselves,” he said.
If you’re the type who prefers the privacy of your own home, participants are also welcome to come by early, Schiller said, take a free joint, and go home and smoke in your home, which actually is legal in D.C.
He also said he believes it’ll be difficult to arrest everyone if there’s a large number of people participating, including people who aren’t smoking: “We want allies as well as people that are willing to engage in civil disobedience known as smoking cannabis.”
Whatever the ultimate outcome is for D.C. laws, it’s hard to find fault with such a peaceful — and blissful — means of protest. Just surrender to the flow and remember: sharing is caring.