If marijuana advocates have their way, the skies on Inauguration Day will be partly cloudy.
The marijuana advocacy group DCMJ and the DC Cannabis Coalition plan to stage a rally as Donald J. Trump is sworn in, complete with free joints. Organizers say they’ll start handing out 4,200 joints at 8 a.m. on Jan. 20. Whatever is left, they’ll give away as they march toward the National Mall.
And since 420 is code for weed, they want everyone — at four minutes and 20 seconds into the new president’s speech — to light up.
While it is legal to give pot away on District of Columbia land, it is illegal to possess or smoke pot on federal property in Washington, D.C. So the group is informing people that this is a smoke-at-your-own-risk scenario. “The Inaugural #Trump420 is a protest where you can choose to commit civil disobedience by possessing cannabis or using cannabis on Federal land. It’s entirely your choice,” the Facebook invitation reads.
It is also illegal to sell it.
What those over 21 can do in D.C. is grow it, have up to two ounces or less in public, and give up to one ounce to someone else of at last the same age.
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“The main message is it’s time to legalize cannabis at the federal level,” said Adam Eidinger, founder of DCMJ.
It’s the wrong message and definitely the wrong time, said Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, a former White House drug policy adviser and the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).
“I don’t think it does their cause any justice,” Sabet told LifeZette. “Smoking pot so openly — which is illegal even in Colorado — reinforces the view that this is about a minority of people imposing their behavior on others. What about all the secondhand smoke? What about all the impacts on impaired driving? It’s one thing if they were smoking it in the privacy of their own home. It’s a very different thing that they intend to make it so public. I think it might even embarrass city and other officials who might be sympathetic to legalization.”
At a time when the use of today’s highly potent marijuana is so prevalent, Sabet added, we need to be educating people about its dangers to youth, not glorifying its use in public. “This is the wrong way to make a point.”
It also sounds a lot like the “free samples” Big Tobacco used to give to students in the heyday of cigarettes, said his colleague, Jeffrey Zinsmeister, Ph.D., executive vice president of SAM in Washington, D.C. “What was that about them somehow being different from the tobacco industry? And do you think they’ll be carefully carding folks as they hand them out? Or worrying about the secondhand smoke for everyone else around (including kids)? Rhetorical questions — we all know what the answers are.”
Donald Trump has not taken a definitive stance on the issue recently, but previously stated he believes medical marijuana should be legalized and the rest should be left up to the individual states. Marijuana proponents believe, however, that the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general speaks volumes — and that from here on out, legalization efforts will be an uphill battle.