Washington Goes Up in Smoke


Up in smoke

What happens when you try to give joints away to Congress?

Most handouts on Capitol Hill go to airlines, defense contractors and banks, but for a few sunny hours on Thursday afternoon, anyone with a congressional ID and a burning love of freedom could pick up free joints from merry mischief-makers in red and green hats.

Christmas hadn’t come early to Congress. Instead it was 4/20, the unofficial high holy day of marijuana smokers, and a local pot group was giving out 1,000 joints across the street from the Capitol to protest congressional interference in the District of Columbia’s ability to regulate the local use and sale of the drug.

The colorful head coverings were Phrygian caps, worn in ancient times by the people of central Turkey and more recently associated with liberation causes, including the abolitionist movement, explained Jessica Laycock, a lobbyist for DCMJ, the local pot-advocacy group that organized the event. She had traded in her pantsuit for a tank top and a Jamaican-flag fanny-pack for the day. Minutes after she spoke to a reporter, she was arrested by the Capitol Police, illustrating the crux of her movement’s dilemma.

Public support for marijuana legalization has never been higher—57 percent of Americans, according to one survey last year—but with weed opponents in control in Congress and buzzkill-in-chief Jeff Sessions, who once said “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” at the head of the Justice Department, dreams of achieving a greener future any time soon are beginning to look like a pipe dream.

Under the local laws of the District of Columbia, it is legal to possess and give away small amounts of marijuana, but not to smoke it in public. Under federal law, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 narcotic, the most strictly banned drug classification, and possession of any amount is a crime.


Source/More: POLITICO Magazine

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