Members of the DC Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ), the organization responsible for staging a highly publicized White House smoke-in at the beginning of April, received an invitation this week from the Obama Administration to attend a meeting on Monday to discuss the marijuana movement in the United States.
Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the DCMJ, told The Washington Post that he has been sending letters to the White House for years in request of a “Bud Summit” with Obama’s leading drug advisors to talk about getting marijuana removed from its Schedule I listing, but it wasn’t until he and a band of pot advocates from across the nation carried a 50-foot inflatable joint branded with the message “Obama, Deschedule Cannabis Now” that the administration paid any attention.
Eidinger says he was surprised to receive an email from the Obama Administration asking for a sit-down to engage in a real debate over pot reform, but admits he isn’t sure whether the summons really means anything.
Either way, the meeting is still a foot in the door to contest federal marijuana policies in the war nerve of prohibition – this after many national cannabis advocacy groups criticized the DCMJ for engaging in ineffective “street theater” to draw attention to the issue.
Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said he “cringed” after witnessing the group’s demonstration in front of the White House because he believes their tactics were representative of a time warp into the 60s and 70s with a misguided political focus for a nation “on the verge of finally ending marijuana prohibition.”
Pointing out the embarrassing numbers involved in the DCMJ protest – maybe 100 participants – as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of people who used to gather to demonstrate against war, Stroup said “The latest protest at the White House…made us all look less than serious and politically naive, and it did nothing to move us closer to full legalization in the District, or to encourage President Obama to push marijuana law reform further under federal law.”
Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, who argued that getting stoned in front of the first family’s home would not help further the marijuana movement, supported Stroup’s sentiment toward the protest.
“Smoking in a public park where families and children are vacationing is not going to be the way to encourage the president or member of Congress to do what we need them to do,” Angell told ThinkProgress.
Despite the obvious resistance for the DCMJ’s recent publicity-laden act of civil disobedience, the stunt appears to have worked to some degree. White House officials have confirmed that a meeting is scheduled to take place next week with Eidinger and other members of his organization.
“This is an opportunity for the White House to meet with serious and committed cannabis activists and hear our case for why it’s in President Obama’s best interest to work with the attorney general to fully remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, ” DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller said in a statement.
Interestingly, while the DCMJ reportedly asked the White House if representatives from other cannabis advocacy groups could also attend the meeting, that request was denied. Still, some of the national organizations supporting pot reform are upset the White House didn’t invite them instead.
"I think in some ways it is unfortunate they are not inviting individuals from organizations who have more money and time invested in the issue, and instead are inviting a head shop owner,” Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, told International Business Times.
Perhaps the DCMJ’s march through the District of Columbia carrying an enormous inflatable joint was a ridiculous feat in the eyes of modern cannabis activism, but then again, it may have been the most appropriate move at a time when it seems the entire nation has grown complacent with respect to the subject of basic human rights.
Photo via fox13now.com