The Washington Post

D.C. Council candidate Paul Zukerberg will host ‘4-20 Day’ rally on Mall

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Washington in this December 9, 2012 file photo. (NICK ADAMS/REUTERS)

D.C. Council candidate Paul Zukerberg is taking his campaign to decriminalize marijuana in the District to a higher level, sponsoring a pro-pot rally and concert on the National Mall on the weekend before the April 23 election.

Zukerberg, an attorney who specializes in representing marijuana defendants, said he’s obtained a permit from the National Park Service to hold a daylong “Vote 4-20 Concert” on April 20.

Over the years, 4-20 has become the internationally recognized term for marijuana use, and pro-pot events are held in numerous cities on April 20.

Zukerberg, a Democrat making his first run for elective office, secured the permit for the Mall between 3rd and 4th streets NW. Zukerberg selected that location so participants can then walk a few blocks to Judiciary Square, where they will be able vote on the last day of early-voting.

“We are going to get our message out,” Zukerberg said. “4-20 is marijuana day, and here in D.C. we are going to use it to get our message out that we want to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.”

Zukerberg said four bands — The Originators, Daryl Davis, Unfortunate Sons and Congo Sanchez — will perform at the event. There also will be speeches from marijuana advocates and Zukerberg supporters. Zukerberg will be noting that D.C. residents can register and vote on the same day.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., coincides with both Earth Day and the National MS Society march on the Mall. Zukerberg said he’s not sure how many people will show up for the concert, but he estimated 500 on his Park Service permit.

At candidates’ forums, Zukerberg’s decriminalization message appears to resonate with audiences. But Zukerberg said he’s still searching for strategies to rally enough voters to his side in what is expected to be a low-turnout election.

That’s where the concert comes in, he said.

“It’s a very tough electorate here, but I’m hoping if you give people a free concert for the Mall, with four great bands, they are going to show up,” Zukerberg said. “What else does electorate want? Here’s a candidate who is going to decriminalize weed, and here’s a free concert. What more can I do?”

As for whether any marijuana will actually be smoked at his rally, Zukerberg notes he’s a criminal defense attorney who sees everyday the hardship people face after getting busted for possessing the drug.

“It’s illegal to smoke marijuana,” Zukerberg. “I would never recommend that.”

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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