At the beginning of April, we saw a large group march up to the White House with a 51-foot inflatable joint and a fake jail cell in an old-school sit-in style protest. The protest was started by a group called DCMJ, the Washington DC Cannabis Campaign group who successfully got initiative 71 on the ballot and raised enough awareness for it to pass. The purpose of this gathering was obvious as it was written right on the inflatable joint – “Obama Reschedule Cannabis Now!”
While many participated with the plan to light up at 4:20 that afternoon, the presence of other major marijuana advocate groups was lacking. Many of the groups called this an ineffective method that gives off a bad image when it comes to modern day cannabis reform, and rather it was reminiscent of how things were done in the 60s and 70s – but it apparently had the effect that DCMJ was going for, whether the other groups agreed with their methods or not.
Only a few weeks since this self-proclaimed display of civil disobedience, co-founder of DCMJ Adam Eidinger received an invitation from the Obama Administration to have a sit-down debate about the status of marijuana on the Controlled Substances List. For years Eidinger, among others, have sent letters to the Obama Administration asking for a sit down – and even just before the smoke out they extended the offer to call it off if they could have a formal discussion.
“This is an opportunity for the White House to meet with serious and committed cannabis activists and hear our case for why it’s in President Obama’s best interest to work with the attorney general to fully remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, ” said DCMJ, co-founder and communications director, Nikolas Schiller, who will join Eidinger at the White House meeting.
Oddly enough, however, the invitation has only been extended to DCMJ. When they asked if other marijuana reform group leaders were able to attend the meeting as well their request was denied – which is a bit disappointing, especially for the other groups who would have a substantial influence with the years of experience and numbers in their organizations.
“I think in some ways it is unfortunate they are not inviting individuals from organizations who have more money and time invested in the issue, and instead are inviting a head shop owner,” Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, told International Business Times.
In the end, this could turn out to be a whole lot of nothing – there is always a chance that the Obama Administration is inviting them in as a gesture of goodwill after the smoke-out and will then do nothing further on the issue before the next President takes over. On the other hand, with the DEA promising a decision on the rescheduling of cannabis by the middle of the year and just recently approving the first federal medical marijuana study to use smoked cannabis, this could be a hearing to genuinely consider an alternative to prohibition.