Protests were everywhere on Inauguration Day, including some that turned violent. But one protest seemed to fly under the radar on the day that Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States: a protest organized by DCMJ, the group behind the successful effort in Washington D.C. in 2014 to legalize the recreational use and possession of marijuana.
In an attempt to raise awareness about cannabis issues on a day when all eyes were on the U.S. capital, DCMJ volunteers started handing out joints to a line of people that started forming at 8 in the morning; in all, over 8,000 joints were distributed free of charge, something that is perfectly legal under D.C.’s legalization law.
In addition to handing out free joints, DCMJ also set up a prison cell replica from within which the group’s founder Adam Eidinger spoke to the crowd and those who passed. “Two and a half million people have lost their right to vote for a pot conviction since Ronald Reagan,” he said. “Those people are permanently locked out of the process...that’s crazy.”
Of course it is hard to gauge the effects of something like this. While it certainly wasn’t a dominant news story for most who covered that day, you would have to think that a lot of people heard of and even saw the demonstration and maybe some of them were moved enough to look into the issue a little more. And in the end, that’s really all those who hope to raise awareness about something can hope for.
A blanket of anxiety hovers over most in the cannabis community because of the uncertainty surrounding Trump and his cabinet. Much remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: now is not the time to slack off when it comes to bringing these issues before the public. Cannabis law reform cannot be allowed to be swept into the background and forgotten. Now is the time to fight harder than ever.