Smoking a joint alone in front of a room of people can be awkward. Just ask Adam Eidinger.

Eidinger, the chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign who spearheaded efforts to get marijuana legalization on November’s ballot, invited the media to his campaign headquarters Thursday to watch him plant marijuana seeds and smoke — two activities that are now legal in the District. Eidinger offered to share some of his stash with reporters, but everyone declined, opting merely to enjoy, or perhaps tolerate, the contact high from the smoke that filled the dining room of a Massachusetts Avenue NW rowhouse on Embassy Row.

“It feels great, it feels like freedom,” Eidinger said as he legally inhaled and exhaled multiple times while photographers got their shots.

Eidinger has been pushing for marijuana legalization ever since D.C. officials shut down his Capitol Hemp shops in 2012 because he sold weed-related paraphernalia. This was before decriminalization was in effect in D.C.; at the time, full-on legalization seemed like a quixotic cause. Now Initiative 71, the overwhelmingly voter-approved marijuana legalization law that went into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m., allows residents to grow up to six marijuana plants — three mature ones at a time — at home and possess up to two ounces of the leafy drug. Eidinger plans to reopen his shop in Adams Morgan later this year. 

 “I kind of feel like the Martha Stewart of marijuana,” Eidinger said as he laid the seeds for his six plants in front of the cameras. “Planting a seed is a symbolic act. I hope these seeds will last.”

The D.C. Cannabis Campaign was prepared with props today. There were two sandwiched-sized Ziploc bags stuffed with weed, an amount that Eidinger said conveniently weighed in at around two ounces. He also had a $1,000 water pipe on hand to show what kind of local craftsmanship can thrive now that weed is legal.

But, as Eidinger mentioned, if some Republican congressmen had their way, Thursday’s show would never have happened. Late Tuesday, House Republicans urged Mayor Muriel E. Bowser not to move forward with legalization, saying there could be legal ramifications if she did. Bowser decided to allow Initiative 71 to go into effect anyway, arguing that the District had legal standing to follow the will of voters.

“I hope for the sake of the country we respect our election,” Eidinger said. “I think what’s being born today is a new statehood movement.”