Two pro-marijuana advocates were arrested Tuesday outside the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) after they allegedly smoked the drug during an episode that included a confrontation with the congressman.
U.S. Capitol Police said they charged Kristin Furnish, 28, from Salisbury, Md., and Rachel Ramon Donlan, 46, from the District, with consumption of marijuana in a public space. A protest leader confirmed that both women smoked a joint in front of Harris’s office.
The protesters were led by Adam Eidinger, one of the District’s best-known marijuana activists. Harris, who represents Maryland’s Eastern Shore, in 2014 blocked the District from fully implementing the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
Both Harris and a protester say they were injured during the incident, though a Capitol Police official said neither filed a complaint with law enforcement.
The incident began shortly before 12:15 p.m. outside Harris’s office in the Longworth House Office Building. A video posted on Twitter shows Donlan running after Harris as he passes by in the hall. He disappears into his private office as Donlan and others converge on the door. What precisely happens there cannot be seen on the video. A spokeswoman for Harris said in an email that he bruised his wrist as the protesters tried to force the door open.
Donlan then heads to Harris’s public office entrance and opens the door slightly.
A person on the other side refuses to let her in and pushes the door closed. Donlan said the door closed on her foot, which Eidinger described as assault. Furnish and Donlan then lay prone in the hallway until they were arrested.
“Today’s aggression by protesters who disagree with my position on the legalization of recreational marijuana demonstrates the problem with political discourse today,” Harris said in a statement.
Eidinger said protesters had been trying to meet with Harris for some time.
“They were tired of being ignored,” he said.