DCMJ Protesters Arrested at 4/20 Joint Giveaway

Washington, DC’s premiere cannabis advocacy group has been planning their First Annual Congressional Joint Session on Capitol Hill for weeks. They banded together to roll 1,227 joints, in honor of House Resolution 1227 to end federal marijuana prohibition, and to hand out said joints to congressional staffers and members of Congress on Capitol Hill in the District.

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Today’s festivities were abruptly shut down, however, when District Police arrested one protester after another for not complying with distribution laws.

Some arrests were more visible than others, although the charges against each protester were initially unclear, as noted by a US News reporter on the scene, Steven Nelson.

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Adam Eidinger was the fourth to be arrested. Eidinger is the leader of DCMJ and authored Initiative 71, which legalized possession and home cultivation of cannabis in Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Croydon, a longtime cannabis activist and recent vocal opponent of Jeff Sessions, was taken into custody for participating in the protest, along with a fellow protester.

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Nelson continued to question law enforcement about the charges against those under arrest. It appears that distribution, rather than possession, is the determining factor in placing protesters in custody, although as Nelson points out, both possession and distribution are illegal on federal grounds.

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Natalie DeLeon, a cannabis activist and Congressional candidate hopeful for 2020, was arrested next, in a rather dramatic fashion — a still-burning joint was plucked from her hand mid-speech, and she was placed in handcuffs.

With that, the activists began to scatter amid shouts of “Cops! Cops!” The surreal scene screams of past days of prohibition, and only highlights the problems that still remain in spite of legalization.

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Seven protesters have been arrested in total. While law enforcement officials were vague about the actual charges that protesters will face, federal law treats the distribution of small amounts of cannabis as a misdemeanor possession charge with a maximum of 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

The protest is ending early, although Nikolas Schiller, a co-founder of DCMJ, assured reporters on the scene: “We will be suing the hell out of US Capitol Police.

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