DCMJ, a group of Washington, D.C. based marijuana activists, went ahead with a planned protest in front of the White House with the Weed for Warriors Project on May 20, despite an unrelated security incident that had the area on lockdown for several hours.
About 100 people gathered on H Street, across from the then closed off Lafayette Park instead of on Pennsylvania Ave. The White House was still visible in the background as participants held signs and flags aloft.
DCMJ’s Adam Eidinger began the rally—which was held on the day Harry Anslinger, who engineered the federal prohibition of marijuana in the 1930s, was born 124 years ago—by saying that “democracy is still happening.”
The group sought to bring attention to the history of cannabis laws and appeal for President Obama to remove marijuana form the federal Controlled Substances Act.
After a round of speeches from 5:20 p.m to 6 p.m., Weed for Warriors Project coordinator Brandon Wyatt led a “die-in” to highlight the growing problems for our nation’s military vets. Participants laid down on the sidewalk for 22 minutes, representing how many vets commit suicide every day. Having unfettered access to cannabis could help them deal with PTSD and stop relying on opiates for pain management.
Some participants did smoke cannabis during the event but there were no citations given or arrests made.
DCMJ has been keeping consistent pressure on President Obama to take action on marijuana. The group held a “smoke-in” on April 2. This led to a surprise invitation for a listening session with several Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) staffers. But the rather one-sided conversation with the ONDCP left the advocates nonplussed and demanding a more meaningful exchange. The aim of the May 20 event was to secure a meeting with higher level administration officials.
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