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Update, May 19: With marijuana activists’ second protest outside of the White House this year planned for Friday, advocacy group DCMJ is telling participants to dress for the occasion.
“We want the Obama administration to take cannabis reform seriously, so we are dressing seriously,” the group writes in a newsletter. “If you are a military veteran, we urge you to wear your service uniform tomorrow. If you are a civilian, please wear a suit and tie or a button-up shirt. Dress up for your mugshot! Too often there is a stereotype of cannabis reform advocates as not serious, but you can help change that perception by simply dressing up to get down.”
Turns out the inflatable 51-foot-joint won’t rise again after all, “due to the serious nature of this demonstration.” DCMJ says demonstrators will gather at 5:20 p.m. near Lafayette Park, along with members of the Weed for Warriors Project. DCMJ also implies that there could be “civil disobedience” arrests “not from smoking cannabis, but from putting our bodies in the way of the machine that chooses to continue [Harry Anslinger‘s] discriminatory policy of cannabis prohibition.”
At 6 p.m., the group continues, there will be “a mass die-in” at the White House gates to represent veterans who die from suicide: “These demonstrators plan to remain there until the Obama administration changes course or they are arrested by the police— whichever happens first.”
DCMJ, the group behind Initiative 71, says it’s organizing a demonstration outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue scheduled to take place later this month. Advocates want President Barack Obama to devote part of his last year in the office to taking weed off the federal schedule of controlled substances. It’s currently classified in the same way as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
“We are calling on Obama to end the war on drug users by taking the first step: DESCHEDULING CANNABIS!”a flyer for the event explains. “This will be a unpermitted event with mass cannabis consumption and escalated non-violent civil disobedience. Support veterans risking arrest! They will lead a mass die-in calling for the end to the war on drugs.”
City Desk has reached out to DCMJ cofounder Adam Eidinger for comment and will update this post if we hear back. Eidinger and cofounder Nik Schiller met with White House officials to discuss drug reform in late April.
The pot protest is scheduled to begin on May 20 at 5:20 p.m. (on April 2, it was at 4:20 p.m.). Why 5/20? It’s the 124th anniversary of Harry Anslinger‘s birth, DCMJ says. As the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, he drafted the “Marihuana Tax Act” introduced in 1937 that effectively criminalized weed.
No word yet if the 51-foot inflatable joint (or some other prop, in true DCMJ fashion) will appear as well.