Nearly two dozen cannabis advocates rallied in front of the Wilson Building on Tuesday morning, pressing for the legalization of marijuana sales in the District.
Proudly flying a flag stamped with marijuana plants, people with the D.C. Cannabis Business Association (DCCBA) and a group known as DCMJ highlighted the city law that makes it legal to possess up to two ounces of cannabis, but not sell it. Police have raided events where vendors have sought a workaround by selling small trinkets and including marijuana infused-treats, waxes or oils as a gift.
“The impetus [for this rally] is that the raids have increased,” said DCMJ co-founder Adam Eidinger. “At our biweekly meetings at public libraries, especially in Southeast and Northeast, we’ve heard about this issue more than any other issue, that people’s livelihoods are being threatened.”
D.C. voters in 2014 approved Initiative 71 in a referendum that legalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for recreational use. But attempts by advocates to create a system that would regulate and tax marijuana transactions were shot down by Congress.
A congressional rider outlaws pot sales and forbids the D.C. Council from passing laws to “reduce penalties” associated with the drug. DCMJ and the DCCBA want council members to pressure Congress into repealing the rider, and then set up a system to tax and regulate sales.
“I don’t mind being taxed,” said Capice Faulcon. He owns a website and sells gemstone jewelry and toys from the 1980s. Since he cannot legally sell marijuana, he gives it away to customers as a “free gift.”
Armed with bags of pot, the activists on Tuesday handed out rolled joints and seeds to anyone who could prove they were 21 or older.
Leydi Arenas, 35, inspected the IDs of four young men. In exchange, she handed them each one joint rolled in strawberry-
“I’m supporting the cannabis community,” Arenas said. She said she used to be a vendor, but does not smoke anymore.
The activists then moved inside. They waited outside the room where lawmakers attended a breakfast for Jewish community leaders.
Council member David Grosso (I-At Large), who has been a supporter of marijuana revisions, took a joint as he left the breakfast. Grosso in September introduced a bill that would make it easier for residents to enroll in the city’s medical marijuana program.
The council member is a registered patient in D.C.’s medical marijuana program, his communications director, Matt Nocella, confirmed.
Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) also accepted a free joint.
Dawn Lee-Carty, a mom and founder of Speak Life, came to advocate the use of CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis. Lee-Carty said her 10-year-old daughter uses CBD oil to help manage her epilepsy.