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Last week, marijuana gadfly Adam Eidinger threatened to smoke out the District in response to a D.C. Council bill banning private “marijuana clubs.” Angry over Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s support for the legislation, Eidinger planned to cast a nationwide net for potheads willing to smoke in public to protest. Eidinger claimed that an earlier deal he had struck with Bowser to avoid the kind of public protests that could excite Congress ahead of marijuana legalization had been voided by her pot club bill.
Today, though, Eidinger strikes a more moderate tone on his smoke-in plans.
“I know we were considering it,” Eidinger says. “But do we really need to do it right now?
What changed? Here’s one thing: Bowser offered him a “420” license plate. The low number plates, treasured by Wilson Building machers, are handed out by the mayor and councilmembers. In a March 4 letter, Bowser’s office bestows the plate on Eidinger “to acknowledge your commitment to and work on behalf of your neighbors and the District.” Bowser spokesman Michael Czin confirmed that the administration offered the tag to Eidinger, who says receiving it made him feel “like a million bucks.”
“I’m riding a wave of serotonin,” Eidinger says. “I just want it to last all weekend.”
Eidinger, who didn’t ask for the tags, says the prominent plates have made him feel more kindly to his sometimes ally in the mayoral suite.
“This is such an old school thing and I love it,” Eidinger says. “It’s out of a movie or something.”
His tactics have moderated, too. Eidinger won’t rule out being involved in an April 20 smoke-in (4/20, get it?), but he’s favoring a public marijuana swap instead, which wouldn’t violate the District’s marijuana legalization regime.
Not everyone is so thrilled. Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell suspects that Eidinger’s new plates are about more than a nice gesture.
“You have to wonder if it’s an attempt by the Bowser administration to sort of temper some of the outrage they generated in recent weeks,” Angell says.
Bowser’s outreach to District potheads hasn’t thrilled everyone. On March 4—-the same day the District issued its plates for Eidinger—-Ward 8 Council candidate Sandra Seegars blasted Bowser’s marijuana efforts as a distraction.
“Where is the mayor’s focus,” Seegars wrote in a press release. “Residents getting high or residents sleeping in the streets?”
Even Eidinger thinks that the flashy tags may have their downsides.
“Every police officer in town is going to know who’s in the car,” Eidinger says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery