Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday is guaranteed to be a memorable affair for reasons beyond the historic moment of America welcoming its first reality-TV, Twitter-feuding, sexual assault-boasting president.
Forget, for a second at least, the cheap jokes about the musical acts pulled from the hotel-by-the-airport convention circuit in order to perform before the #MAGA set at the celebrity-shunned inauguration, or the very real, very ominous army of immigration authorities waiting to descend on America’s workplaces as soon as Trump gives the word.
There’s going to be five thousand marijuana joints in the crowd, and unless the incoming administration signals a clear truce on cannabis before Friday morning, a cadre of Washington, D.C. activists have vowed to light them up just as Trump’s first big speech gets going.
Marijuana advocates with DCMJ, the organization responsible for D.C.’s successful marijuana legalization push, have spent the past few weeks rolling thousands and thousands of joints and waiting—waiting for Donald Trump, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, Russian intelligence or anyone else close to the president to suggest what the incoming administration’s intentions on marijuana are going to be.
Will they do the conservative thing, and let the states legalizing recreational cannabis, giving sick people access to medical marijuana and leaving those states alone to do their thing, like Barack Obama has done? While there are certainly other priorities—such as ensuring the world doesn’t fall into a state of chaos, as seems increasingly likely—Trump and his people have barely said a word.
And during his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions explicitly reserved his right to ramp up the drug war on the country’s multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.
The silence has led to weeks of intense speculation, much of it not very reassuring, and now, DCMJ promises, it’ll culminate in a cloud of marijuana smoke rising above the steps of the U.S. Capitol as Trump is talking.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything from the incoming administration about cannabis reform,” DCMJ wrote in an e-mail newsletter issued Thursday afternoon, “so the Inaugural #Trump420 is still happening.”
TIME magazine caught up with DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller, who says that the joints are rolled, they will be passed out and at “exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech,” they will be fired up.
He insists that the event isn’t an anti-Trump protest, per se—after all, marijuana proved vastly popular in red states like Florida, where 70 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana—so much as it is for “anyone who supports cannabis reform.”
Presumably, that includes people in Trump’s inner circle other than Jeff Sessions, and maybe even a fair number of the #MAGA and alt-right crew. Surely Pepe the frog smokes weed? The world will find out tomorrow morning.
The 5,500 joints will be available for pick-up to anyone over 21 beginning at 8 a.m. at Dupont Circle in the district. Participants are encouraged to walk over to the National Mall and have their lighters and matches ready once Trump takes the oath.
Although marijuana possession and use is legal in D.C., it’s not legal on federal property—which includes the Mall. But this is no time to be worried about obeying the letter of the law.
“The act of nonviolent civil disobedience is to break a law that they wish to change,” Schiller told TIME. “The smell can go around and people can know ‘oh those people are demonstrating the importance of cannabis legalization.’”
DCMJ’s act of protest is one of many scheduled for Inauguration Weekend, including national women’s marches on Saturday.
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