Washington, DC: Seven Marijuana Activists Face Federal Charges For Offering 4/20 Joints To Congressional Staff

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

U.S. Capitol Police officers arrested seven marijuana activists on federal charges Thursday as they gave away free joints to Capitol Hill staffers.

Activists from the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, or DCMJ, stood on a sidewalk near Senate offices -- non-federal land -- to avoid arrest and intervention by the Capitol Police.

A ballot initiative approved by District of Columbia voters in 2014 made it legal for adults 21 and older to possess 2 ounces of cannabis and to give it away. But marijuana remains illegal on the federal level.

The few dozen activists booed the officers loudly as they walked those arrested across Constitution Avenue to police vans.

Adam Eidinger, a co-founder of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign and the public face of legalization in the nation’s capital, was among those arrested.

It was planned for the joint giveaway to last from "high noon" until 6:20 p.m., but it ended at 2:15 p.m, with many of the activists saying that the police had "stolen" many of the 1,227 joints rolled to express support for H.R. 1227, which would put an end to federal marijuana prohibitions.

Eva Malecki, communications director for U.S. Capitol Police, issued the following statement:

"At approximately 12:18 p.m. today, United States Capitol Police (USCP) officers began arresting several individuals after witnessing them distributing marijuana in public view to passersby at First and Constitution Avenue, NE.

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."

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia was not able to comment specifically, saying, "We will have no information on charging decisions until the court appearances." It's unclear if the office will prosecute the charges.