Cannabis activists to hand out thousands of free joints at Donald Trump's inauguration

The activists want Mr Trump to support federal legislation of marijuana

Kimberley Richards
New York
Wednesday 04 January 2017 19:03 GMT
The activists intend to hand out 4,200 joints
The activists intend to hand out 4,200 joints

As President-elect Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address, groups of activists plan to hand out joints to those listening - and light up.

The group known as DCMJ intends to distribute thousands of joints of marijuana on Inauguration Day - for free - as part of a campaign to push for the federal legalisation of pot.

The group plans to start handing out joints at 8am January 20 on the west side of Dupont Circle in the nation’s capital, part of the city where recreational marijuana is legal. Then, marchers will walk to the National Mall where the real protest will begin.

The plan is to light up on the Mall at precisely four minutes and twenty seconds into Mr Trump’s inaugural address, a time chosen to symbolise April 20 - or 4/20 on American calendars - which is dubbed National Weed Day, and is celebrated by many across the United States.

DCMJ, a Washington.-based group which focuses on marijuana laws and “equal rights for DC cannabis users, growers, and their families,” is organising the event with the mission to build awareness on marijuana reform in the wake of the forthcoming Trump administration.

“The main thing is to show that cannabis reform is not a partisan issue,” Nikolas Schiller, co-founder of DCMJ, told The Independent.

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“This is not a protest against Trump at all. It’s an awareness building activity. We’re going to hand out joints. It doesn’t matter what political affiliation you are.”

The organisers will meet with other participants near Dupont Circle for coffee and tea, followed by a walk to the National Mall. But with conflicting DC and federal laws concerning the possession and recreational use of marijuana, the group has to juggle the complications created by the presence of both federal and city laws.

In February 2015, the District of Columbia, passed Initiative 71 which allowed legal possession of small amounts of marijuana with certain restrictions.

Individuals aged 21 and older can possess two ounces or less of marijuana, and use it on private property. But since a significant amount of DC is federal land, the laws surrounding marijuana possession can get tricky.

Initiative 71 does not affect federal law, therefore possessing any amount of marijuana on federal land is still illegal.

The DCMJ has prepared for this. The organisers will gather on the west side of Dupont Circle (avoiding federal land) to distribute 4,200 joints of marijuana to participants.

They also plan to take other precautions with plans to card individuals receiving a free joint to ensure they are 21 years old or older.

Mr Schiller said each joint will have up to one gram of cannabis in order to stay in line with DC’s guideline that an individual can transfer up to one ounce or less of marijuana to another person.

The protest aspect will play out when the group plans to light up at the National Mall during Trump’s inaugural speech.

But Mr Schiller said the bigger point of the protest was to encourage Mr Trump to make his plans surrounding marijuana reform clear – and for him to take action to push for marijuana legalisation on a federal level. Marijuana is listed as a DEA Schedule 1 drug, along with LSD.

He said the DCMJ is particularly concerned about Mr Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, who said: “Marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalised.”

The DCMJ plans to attend Mr Sessions’ upcoming Senate confirmation hearing.

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