While cops might look the other way on 4/20 when herds of brazen stoners puff in public, provoking law enforcement and government employees still might get you busted. That’s what happened in Washington, D.C. on Thursday when seven marijuana activists got arrested for handing out free joints to members of Congress and other Capitol Hill staffers as part of a campaign push for cannabis law reform and regulation.
They were part of a group called DCMJ, which had organized a 4/20 event called “Congressional Joint Session” to get legislators’ attention about changing marijuana law. The activists chose to occupy the corner of 1st Street and Constitution Avenue Northeast because it’s not federal land, but close enough to the Capitol. To ensure that the recipients of the free joints were actually Capitol Hill staffers, and not just other 4/20 locals, the group said they would be asking to check their Congressional ID’s.
“Americans don’t want crackdown on legal cannabis—they want Congress to end cannabis prohibition once and for all,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ. “On 4/20, we’ll celebrate adults making informed choices based on facts, rather than propaganda.” However, that celebration was short-lived.
The group of activists had planned to give out a minimum of 1,000 joints, but were unable to reach their goal once the cops got involved. After seeing them distributing the weed, the U.S. Capitol Police put an end to the Congressional Joint Session.
According to Capitol police, three of the activists were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, while the other four were charged with simple possession. While the city of Washington D.C. did legalize marijuana, allowing adults to possess, grow, and give weed away, it’s still prohibited under federal law. That said, transferring up to an ounce of weed “without payment” is technically legal under local law and shouldn’t incriminate the activists, according to the AP.
Moreover, this isn’t the first time DCMJ has given away free weed, and it won’t be the last. On Inauguration Day, they gave away thousands of joints, and no one got arrested, while next week they’re planning a smokeout on the steps of the Capitol to make a point to members of Congress that they should end marijuana prohibition.