Pot Advocates Plan to Hand Out 4,200 Free Joints on Inauguration Day

It's calling for changes in marijuana laws.

ByABC News
January 5, 2017, 1:10 PM

— -- A group of activists plans to cause a literal stink at the presidential inauguration — in support of marijuana reform.

The group, called DCMJ, has announced its plans to hand out upward of 4,200 marijuana cigarettes near Dupont Circle the morning of Donald Trump's inauguration and then march toward the National Mall.

It is legal to possess a small amount of marijuana in the District of Columbia but illegal to smoke it in public.

DCMJ's leader, Adam Eidinger, told ABC News its members will be giving away the joints, which is legal. They will not tell people to break the law by smoking in public. But, he added, he thought the idea of smoking them publicly would be "a great act of civil disobedience in light of the silence [on marijuana reform] coming from the Trump administration."

"We would love not to do this," Eidinger said. "We feel compelled to do it, and if we heard any sign from Donald Trump that he was serious about reform and Jeff Sessions was serious about reform ... we would call it off."

The group is strongly opposed to Trump's selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general, since Sessions has been an outspoken opponent of marijuana. At a Senate hearing in April 2016, Sessions said that "good people don't smoke marijuana" and it is "not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized."

The Metropolitan Police Department is "aware of the situation and monitoring it," said its public relations spokeswoman Karimah Bilal.

She said that anyone caught smoking marijuana in public could receive a citation, which could include a fine, typically $25, or be summoned to court.

Eidinger told ABC News that he has offered to pay the fine for anyone who is arrested as a result of the group's plans, but he said he expects police are "going to take a tolerance policy."

The group is calling on supporters and marijuana enthusiasts to meet outside Dupont Circle — as opposed to in the park at the center of the circle, since that is federally owned land — as early as 7:00 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, for coffee and tea and to distribute the joints.

"We're not judging people who come and get weed and go home and watch the inauguration," Eidinger said.

Adam Eidinger, far right, and a few other members of the Washington, DC marijuana rights group DCMJ wait in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Nov. 28, 2016.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

The group plans to work within the confines of D.C. law, it said. It is asking supporters to arrive with up to 2 ounces each of prepared joints to distribute — but no more.

Group members plan to hold rolling parties in preparation for the big day and, Eidinger said, participants will take home what they roll and distribute it on Inauguration Day. When they give out joints that morning, they will be checking IDs to make sure that all recipients are at least 21 years old, as mandated by the district's law.

"We're going to show the public how it can be done safely without giving it away to kids," he said.

So far, Eidinger said, he has 25 people committed to distributing the joints on Inauguration Day and, based on his group's previous rallies and events, he is prepared for a much larger turnout — as many as 5,000 people.

"We'll run out," he said.

Even if the recipients go back to their homes to smoke and then return for the inauguration, rather than smoke in public, he said, it will still be a presence.

"You will smell it, and it should be really interesting to see how it goes down," Eidinger said.

The inauguration is not the only upcoming political event that DCMJ plans to attend. Eidinger said members will be "sitting in line for three days" to make sure that they get seats in the audience for Session's confirmation hearing, which is scheduled for Jan. 10 and 11.

"It's going to smell like marijuana in that hearing because we smell like marijuana because we're going to smoke legally before it," he said.

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