Come to Washington DC for Donald Trump’s inauguration and you might get some free weed, but be careful. The pot advocates handing it out are still probably breaking the law and tricking others into doing so.
A community group of weed smokers and growers say they will gather at Dupont Circle Jan. 20, the morning of the Inauguration, then parade toward the National Mall handing out 4,200 joints along the way.
My reaction to this—and to the whole issue of legalizing marijuana—lies somewhere between indifference and ambivalence. I really don’t care if people can smoke marijuana legally but after hearing so many sermons comparing the use of cannabis to alcohol and complaining about a double standard, this sort of demonstration is irksome.
If you were marching across DC on Inauguration Day passing out beers, shots of liquor, or glasses of wine you would definitely be spending a significant portion of the day in conversation with representatives of law enforcement.
If you were pushing a plan to have spectators chug a tall boy at a certain point in Trump’s Inaugural address, you would be skating on thin ice.
DC voters legalized recreational marijuana in a 2014 referendum but there are still a lot of restrictions. These demonstrators are probably asking for trouble. Here is what DC allows with regard to pot possession.
In November 2014, District voters approved the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Initiative (commonly known as Initiative 71). The new law becomes effective on February 26, 2015.
As a result, it is legal for a person who is at least 21 years old to:
- Possess two ounces or less of marijuana;
- Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person who is at least 21 years old, so long as there is no payment made or any other type of exchange of goods or services;
- Cultivate within their residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature;
- Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia – such as bongs, cigarette rolling papers, and cigar wrappers – that is associated with one ounce or less of marijuana; or
- Use marijuana on private property.
Here’s what you can’t do.
A person can still be arrested for:
- Selling any amount of marijuana to another person;
- Possessing more than two ounces of marijuana;
- Operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana; or
- Smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana – or holding or carrying a lighted roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana – in any public space, such as:
- On any street, sidewalk, alley, park, or parking area;
- In a vehicle on any street, alley, park, or parking area; or
- Any place to which the public is invited.
In short, distributing thousands of joints on the street and lighting up at a Presidential Inauguration is probably still going to get you busted.
“We have to give away marijuana at the Inauguration, we have to encourage people to use marijuana during his speech,” said Adam Eidenger, who helped lead the drive to legalize pot in D.C. in a November 2014 ballot initiative. “I imagine there’ll be the smell of marijuana throughout the Inauguration,” he said.
Along with the smell of fear, anger, joy, despair, resentment, etc. Everyone with an ax to grind or cause to pimp is converging on DC on January 20. It seems unlikely that any one ingredient is going to dominate the flavor of the Inaugural soup.
The activists are hoping people will light up four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural address — 420 is code for marijuana.
“If you do it at four minutes and 20 seconds into his speech people will know when they smell it that it is a demonstration for marijuana reform,” Eidenger said.
DC food truck operators are probably loving the idea but it seems pretty half baked.