DC NORML: This Week Cannabis Advocacy and Celebrations

By Alex Jeffrey, DC NORML So, you think you're a cannabis enthusiast? You're twiddling your thumbs, excited about 4/20 approaching next week, stoked about the National Cannabis Festival rockin' your weekend.

Me too.

Well... that's not the only thing that has me psyched about next week. Take a look at these 4/20 happenings in the nation's capital:

  • Marijuana Lobbying
  • Permanent Vote on DC Law?
  • Legislative Town Hall/Public Testimony
  • 4/20 Town Hall - Education
  • 4/20 Festivities
  • VIP Parties
  • March Against Prohibition
  • and....  the first-ever National Cannabis Festival!!!!

Hold on to your blunts, folks! Next week just got a lot bigger than tokes and smokes!

Let us begin with our very own DC City Council. Whether or not you're aware, on April 5th, the District of Columbia City Council voted in favor of The Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Clarification Amendment Act of 2015 - Bill 21-0107 (by one vote!). This bill bans cannabis consumption anywhere in the District that the public is invited (excluding a private residence). You may be familiar with the effects of this ban. The bill has been temporarily in place since the passing of Initiative: 71 in the District last year. Fortunately, there have been no incidents, no problems, no cannabis crimes, and no issues with public consumption for DC. Yet, our appointed representatives have democratically voted in favor of this ban!?!?

Whaaat?!?

Good news, the fight isn't over.

A second vote by the council is needed for the bill to become "permanent;" passing on to the Mayor for final approval. Next Tuesday, April 19, the Council is expected to vote, for a second time, on B21-0107. If the council approves the vote again, cannabis consumption will be permanently banned in the District of Columbia. Monday, the day before, cannabis activists will be physically meeting and talking with DC Council, attempting to sway Councilmembers to vote against the permanent ban. Here's a link if you're interested:https://www.facebook.com/events/489719564562561/

Interestingly, not every councilmember favors the ban! Council member Nadeau (who voted against the ban) is one of seven members who make up the Mayor's appointed Marijuana Task Force. Nadeau is hosting a Legislative Town Hall next Tuesday evening from 6pm-8pm. The purpose of this evening event is to hear the community testify on the aforementioned public consumption ban. The hearing is an opportunity for the community to testify on whether they believe medical patients and cannabis consumers should have a place to consume outside of their private residence. Thanks to Nadeau and the Marijuana Task Force fulfilling its duty, the public has the opportunity to have a voice.

If that's not enough, on Wednesday (4/20), DC NORML (that's me) and DC Wellness Solutions have been planning a Community Cannabis Town Hall, to be held at MLK Memorial Library Auditorium (Room A5) from 11am-2pm. That's right, on 4/20, during the day, we are having our own Town Hall (ours was first ). The goal of the Town Hall is to: "Evolve the perception of Cannabis on 4/20, the Smoker's Holiday. Organizations will be passing out information on what is legal and illegal in the District of Columbia." The Town Hall will also feature tables where the public can "Talk to a Grower." Experts will be  experienced in organic, synthetic, and hydroponic styles of growing. Lastly, and most importantly, DC Wellness Solutions will be educating the community and our public officials on the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. We're not talking "the basics" you are all familiar with - we're talking about a comprehensive overview of compounds in the plant - you don't want to miss this. The Town Hall will be broadcast live, is open to the public, and will be introduced by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). We expect members of DC Public Schools, DC Public Officials, the community, and the press and the media present.

Of course, afterwards, we're gonna party like it's 4/20!

If you're not satisfied yet, on Friday, 4/22, the Marijuana Task Force will be holding its very first meeting. Funny, that they would meet for the first time AFTER deciding on a permanent ban? Doesn't sound exceptionally progressive to me. Let's expect more of our elected officials. Stay tuned for an update on 4/20 to hear about the REST of the week. ;-)