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7 people arrested in pro-pot demonstration near Capitol

7 people arrested in pro-pot demonstration near Capitol

"420 is the global smoker's holiday, if you will", said Shaun McAlister, who runs marijuana activist group DFW NORML. "This is a lawful place to give away cannabis because it's D.C. land".

The giveaway happened on a city street next to the USA capitol.

"In recognition of 4/20, a date celebrated by many marijuana enthusiasts, pot advocates in D.C. are planning demonstrations around the U.S. Capitol building, including one that could land participants in jail".

The push to legalize marijuana has picked up speed in recent years - with eight states and the District of Columbia passing laws legalizing recreational marijuana use since 2012, four of those - California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada - approving it in last year's election. Basically anyone with a valid congressional ID can get free weed. And while residents have won the right to possess, consume and grow marijuana for personal use at home, they still aren't able to go to a licensed store and buy cannabis for recreational use. Minutes later, more volunteers started handing out joints and more volunteers were arrested.

Organizer Adam Eidinger said the protesters are calling on Congress to vote on an amendment that would prohibit the federal government from interfering with state and local laws legalizing the drug.

President Donald Trump hasn't clarified what his approach to marijuana will be, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug's legalization and this month ordered a review of the government's marijuana policy, which has included a largely hands-off approach in legal marijuana states. "And as long as the Harris Rider remains in the federal budget for the District of Columbia, the DC government can not pass laws that would allow for the regulation of adult-use stores or cafes".

National Organization for the Reform on Marijuana Laws (NORML) executive director Erik Altieri said in an interview that while he respected the group, their kind of direct action was "not the strategy that we typically take".

"I'm on cloud nine", says Adam Eidinger, one of the arrestees, shortly after his release from jail today. "If these members of Congress ask themselves who has the most to lose from ending the war on cannabis, it isn't the American people".

"We did not expect that", he said.

This year's 4/20 party follows successful legalisation campaigns in California, Nevada, Maine and MA, which joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states that allow recreational marijuana. So unless it's renewed, the 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana would be vulnerable to prosecution. "Anywhere else in America where you offer free marijuana, and it's legal, people line up by the thousands".

Cannabis Coalition passed out 9,000 joints during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in January.

Philadelphia's 420 celebrations likely won't be as high profile.


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