( 4UMF NEWS ) Pot Activists To Light Up In Front Of The White House:
Marijuana activists will be exercising their First Amendment rights on Saturday — and then deliberately breaking federal law on the National Mall in front of the White House — as they push President Obama to loosen national restrictions on pot use.
Rallies like this one typically take place on April 20, which is “4/20” in cannabis culture, a shorthand slang for marijuana use. Usually a large group assembles, waits for 4:20 p.m., and then conducts mass civil disobedience by openly smoking marijuana. While private marijuana use is permitted in the District of Columbia, public consumption is banned, as is the use or possession on federal land such as the Mall.
If you’re in the area, the group will be hard to miss: Participants will be carrying aloft a 50-foot-long inflatable joint.
Saturday’s rally has been moved to April 2 because the group organizing it, DCMJ, says Obama has been a “Big Zero” on changing marijuana laws. DCMJ played an integral role in passing the 2015 law that legalized marijuana use in the District. The rally begins at 2 p.m. with speakers, followed by a mass consumption protest at 4:20 p.m.
Faced with mass consumption events, most police agencies avoid writing citations or making arrests. That’s what happened last year when marijuana activists walked the area smoking joints.
“A real protest, a necessary protest, involves use. This isn’t a rally. This is a protest,” DCMJ co-founder Adam Eidinger said. “It’s not going to be fun. It’s going to be serious. We are ready to be arrested if we have to.”
Many cannabis activists want the federal government to remove marijuana from its classification as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it’s treated on par with heroin, LSD and ecstasy. That classification level limits research activity and the willingness of many voters to treat marijuana on par with more commonly used drugs, such as alcohol. Eidinger said his group is willing to call off the mass civil disobedience if Obama agrees to meet within 30 days with the organizers of major marijuana-legalization groups.
In addition to the District, four states – Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington – have legalized recreational marijuana use, while 23 states and the District have legalized some form of medical marijuana use.
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