We all know about the group of D.C. activists who conducted the April 2nd smoke-out on Pennsylvania Avenue. Major reform groups called them out on their actions – but so did the White House who invited them to a conference. Sadly, that conference was extremely disappointing, mostly filled with them talking and never getting a word of feedback. The whole thing lasted about half an hour and upon leaving, they held up a sign saying that they needed a meeting with higher-ups.
Since then, the goal was to continue to write letters, but it appears that they’ve decided that a more direct approach will once again be necessary. The DC Cannabis Campaign and Weed for Warriors met Friday at the White House at 5:20 on 5/20. Many may not see the significance of the date, it was the birthday of a major prohibitionist, Harry J. Ansling, who headed the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and helped to found the modern war on drugs.
“You should understand our protests are not just for medical research into cannabis, but ending cannabis prohibition once and for all,” the DC Cannabis Campaign said in its letter to the White House earlier this month. “You have the opportunity to heal the national wound of unjust cannabis policies that have always targeted minorities, hurt patients and corrupted policing in America for nearly 80 years.”
“Given the compelling and staggering facts as to why these failed cannabis policies harm Americans, we are sure you can understand why we cannot tolerate your inaction on these important issues any longer,” the groups said in their letter to the White House. “We simply cannot stand on the sidelines and watch while everyday more Americans are harmed by what is clearly racist and unconstitutional failed drug policies. This is why we are requesting a formal response regarding the above from your administration before May 20th.”
After hoping that the White House would respond prior to their May 20th date – but that didn’t happen so it lead them to move forward with their plans of further civil disobedience, located right in front of the White House. After a series of speeches, the Weed for Warriors group plans to spill thousands of pill bottles to represent the opiate crisis that has been escalating in our country and the many prescriptions that could be replaced with medical marijuana.
Then, they planned to stage a “die in” where they lay down in front of the entrance gate at the White House and they don’t plan to move until they are forced to. “We’re not going to move. We are not going to leave. We are going to get taken to jail,” said organizer Adam Eidinger.
I was unable to find an account of how the protest turned out – or whether or not it even got to happen after events that took place earlier that same afternoon. According to the U.S. Secret Service (and sightseers and bystanders alike) a man was shot this afternoon around 3 p.m. after he refused to drop a firearm, causing the area to go on lockdown. After such an event, it would likely be difficult to proceed with a protest – but keep an eye out for an updated article on the protest in the future.