A rally today on Capitol Hill that featured free marijuana for Congressional staffers turned raucous when police arrested members of the organizing committee as they handed out joints.
The group DCMJ held the event about two blocks from the US Capitol to promote a legalization proposal before Congress that would remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 Drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
DCMJ Co-Founder Adam Eidinger said they were prepared to hand out 1,227 joints to publicize HR 1227, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act sponsored by Rep. Thomas Garrett, a Virginia Republican.
The arrests demonstrated the confusion surrounding legal marijuana in the nation’s capital which in 2015 officially allowed the private possession and smoking of small amounts of the drug. However, marijuana remains illegal on federal land in Washington, and that includes such iconic spaces as the US Capitol building and the parkland surrounding the Capitol.
Today’s rally had attracted a small crowd of media, Congressional staff and others who blocked parts of the sidewalk and spilled over onto the steps of the Reserve Officers Association of the US building.
The DCMJ passed out a few joints to people showing IDs proving they were federal employees. However, officers from the United States Capitol Police soon moved in and arrested two of the DCMJ members.
CAT & MOUSE
A cat and mouse game of followed for the next hour where the DCMJ would pass out joints once the police left. The cops then returned and carted off a few transgressors.
In a press release the Capitol Police said the arrests occurred on federal land. In total three adults were arrested for possession with intent to distribute and four for possession.
DCMJ is a grassroots group that in 2014 led the charge in the District to pass Ballot Initiative 71 that called for marijuana legalization in DC. More than 70% of voters approved the measure and the mayor signed it into law a few months later.
The organization plans a demonstration on April 24 called Reschedule420 on 4/24 at the U.S. Capitol. The event calls for participants to gather at noon on the east side of the Capitol and prepare for “mass civil disobedience” at 4:20 pm. Press releases have promised there will be a smoke in on federal land.