WASHINGTON – Thursday at Constitution Avenue and First Street NE, what started as a 4/20 celebration and peaceful protest ended with Capitol Police confiscating marijuana and arresting seven pot advocates who were passing out free joints to people on the Hill.
DC marijuana laws state: “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.”
However, Capitol Police say, on federal property, distribution is still against the law: “Under federal law, it is unlawful to possess marijuana. As of 2:30 p.m., one adult male and two adult female arrestees were charged with 21 USC 841(a) (possession with intent to distribute). Four adult females were charged with 21 USC 844(a) (possession). They were taken to USCP Headquarters for processing.”
“They are trying to say it was on federal grounds but this is DC property,” said Lewis Porteous, who calls himself the Cannabis Crusader and works closely with other advocates in DCMJ.
Porteous said the 4/20 peaceful protest escalated quickly but was supposed to bring people together.
“Labels are divisive, republican, democrat, black, white, inner city, outer city, hood, hill billy, all that is made to divide us, what We are trying to do is show people that we are all the same,” explained Porteous.
He says the goal was to also call attention to the fact that these groups are pushing for changes to federal marijuana laws.
DCMJ and other marijuana advocates said they protest again on 4/24, when the Senate is in session .