Thousands of Donald Trump supporters and protesters will converge on Washington on inauguration weekend, but one group in particular will stand out not only for its message but also its smell.
A group of marijuana advocates led by DCMJ plans to protest Trump’s presidency and some of his Cabinet nominees by passing out free joints and simultaneously lighting up at “high” noon on the National Mall during inauguration proceedings.
“I don’t want to see us go back to a place where we had more than 5,000 marijuana arrests a year, primarily of African American men. We’re not going to stand by and have our rights taken away,” said Adam Eidinger, who is leading the cannabis handout.
Eidinger helped lead the effort to legalize pot in D.C. in 2014 through a ballot initiative that passed with 70 percent of the vote, and he says he fears legalization in the district will be taken away under Trump’s presidency.
“I have a profound fear that D.C. will be a testing ground for repealing marijuana,” he said.
While Trump made statements in the 1990s supporting the legalization of all drugs, including cannabis, his more recent comments have left many legalization advocates worried. He told the Washington Post in 2015 that he thought legalization should be left up to the states, but he hasn’t made any comments since being elected.
Eidinger calls Trump’s statements “wishy washy,” and he said he hopes the protest will “force a position out of him.”
The Inauguration Day protest also focuses on the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Sessions has made comments linking pot smokers to “not good people.” Members of Eidinger’s group recently led a sit-in at Session’s Senate office, threatening to light up joints in his office if someone didn’t meet them.
Ultimately Sessions’ communications director sat down and listened to the group’s pleas but offered no official comment from the senator.
DCMJ has announced that the protest on Inauguration Day will include handing out 4,200 joints to the public (420 is code for cannabis). Eidinger said he and about 50 others will be available just west of Dupont Circle in downtown Washington to hand out their homegrown weed to any adult interested. Then a group of attendees plan to head down to inauguration events and light up jointly at 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech.
Marijuana consumption is legal in the district as long as it’s not used and consumed on federal land — which would include the National Mall and many of the official areas being used during inauguration weekend. Those who choose to smoke the free joints on the National Mall while watching the inauguration proceedings could risk being prosecuted in federal court. Cannabis can be legally grown and carried in small amounts in the city, as well as given away, but it can’t be sold for profit.
“The last thing I want to do is hand out marijuana at a Trump inauguration, but everyone feels compelled around here because they are afraid they will take away our rights,” Eidinger said. “So this action is forcing them to be tolerant, unless they decide to arrest everyone at noon.”