Dozens of marijuana advocates gathered outside the White House at 4:20 p.m. Saturday and smoked a symbolic joint on government grounds to convince Barack Obama to relax federal cannabis laws.
Secret Service agents watched the pot legalization activists get high as they called on Obama to remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 drug list, but key cannabis supporters were noticeably absent.
The pro-marijuana legalization protest was inspired by Bill Maher lighting a joint on his show, Real Time, although the comedian avoided the rally, organizer Adam Eidinger told Marijuana Politics.
"We won't be ignored anymore. I'm not the biggest advocate of public use, but for now, this is a tactic that we need because we have been ignored too long. Frankly, we don't have anything to lose."The cannabis rally was originally scheduled to take place April 20, 4/20, but organizers called the Obama administration a "zero" on the green revolution and rescheduled their event for Saturday, 4/2, Edinger told the US News and World Report.
"Some of us may end up in jail, and that's fine. We have to take action now, that's the idea. If it's not going to happen under Obama, it's sure as h#$& not going to happen with Hillary."Marijuana legalization is sweeping the nation in a green revolution that is generating billions for the emerging industry, and celebrities everywhere have been piling on. Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana for adult smokers, while 23 other states have eased restrictions, but cannabis still remains illegal at the federal level.
It's legal to carry up to two ounces of marijuana in the nation's capital, but smoking it in public is illegal, and officers ticketed two of the pot protesters, although no arrests were made.The Secret Service did stop the pot activists from carrying a giant 51-foot inflatable joint labeled "Deschedule cannabis now!" onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Later, when some protesters inflated the big plastic joint against the agency's wishes, they were escorted off the grounds.
Meanwhile, other pot legalization advocates weren't happy with the White House marijuana protest and stayed away from the rally, Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell told US News and World Report.
"I'm not sure how smoking marijuana in a public [place] … is supposed to encourage the president to do what we want him to do.Pro-pot lawmakers who support marijuana legalization did avoid the rally Saturday, including Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Sam Farr from California, Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee, and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
"It will likely have the exact opposite effect, as demonstrated by the fact that even some of our strongest allies in Congress are distancing themselves from this stunt."
The pro-pot industry has been divided recently between traditional activists who advocate civil disobedience, and emerging green revolution businessmen who want to keep things professional.
Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, without any redeeming value, so even states that have legalized the drug find it difficult to allow dispensaries access to the banking system or permit valuable research to be conducted.
There's been no word from the White House about what Obama thinks of the pot activists smoking weed outside his house, as the president was away playing golf and not home to get a contact high.
[Photo by AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana]