Bring It Home No Matter Where You Live
By Adam Eidinger, Proposer of Initiative 71, Co-Founder of DCMJ
Legalizing cannabis unravels the cycle of violence and restores value to our society and legalizing everywhere will bring a hopeful future to our planet too! If grown with regenerative organic methods cannabis can heal the planet in numerous ways including carbon reduction. So, when we legalize making a fair system for markets to exist for people to buy and sell in we also advance the green in more ways than one.
The law today in Washington, DC enshrines home growing as a right, something we must never let lawmakers take away or we risk an unfair marketplace for cannabis with super high prices and questionable quality. Many, as I do, think we can be a home-based industry for adult use and sales someday, while medical cannabis will always meet certified testing standards that health insurers should cover for patients, but don’t. Locals can meet the demand of adult use at lower costs than centralized operations, and in many cases, creating small business opportunities to blossom in the cannabis economy. I’m for letting Ganjapreneurism to flourish, but I digress.
In Washington, DC you can transport up to 2oz’s of your finest homegrown cannabis on your person outside the home, including in your car, on the metro, or the bus, but smoking is limited to your home. Backyards are legal as are roof decks, but a front porch smoking is considered public, so police might harass you and arrest as there is no ticket option for public smoking.
In 2016 over 300 people in DC went to jail for public use, yep, it happens. While most were not joining me for civil disobedience blazing in front of the Capitol calling for change, from personal experience, just a few grams over the 2oz public limit will get you arrested and charged like it’s still the 1980’s.
While there are thousands fewer arrests since Initiative 71, arrests are still happening at an alarming rate throughout the DMV. We shouldn’t blame cops for doing their jobs, or Mayor Bowser who has to balance Congress on her back with the needs of the Washington’s diverse communities. The real enemy of cannabis reform that has tied DC government’s hands to make changes to the law is a real bad dude from the Baltimore suburbs: Republican Congressman Andy Harris (MD-1).
DC has legalization without commercialization due to the Harris’rider and his block on local lawmaking. Since 2014 Andy Harris has made it his twisted mission to amend DC’s budget to stop our locally elected lawmakers from doing their jobs. Legal adult sales and a strong cannabis economy will not going become a reality until Harris and the GOP are chased out of office or the GOP radically changes their views on cannabis. The former could happen as early as 2018 if voters in Maryland’s 1st District on the Eastern Shore rise up and toss out Harris, a man who is far more problematic for more than just his archaic marijuana views. He is a man who recently campaigned for the racist accused child molester Judge Roy Moore in Alabama during his failed campaign for the US Senate. Harris also met with Neo-Nazi groups in the Czech Republic this year including the hate spewing Tomio Okamura, whose far right party talks about gassing Jews, homosexuals and Muslims.
Two years ago, DCMJ went to Harris’ district multiple times to campaign and complain. Soon after we made our voices heard in his backyard, Harris joined with Delegate Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC) to claim he was pro-cannabis reform because he supported a weakest of weak medical marijuana research bill that the GOP leadership refused to even schedule a vote on! Harris wants you to ignore that he was undermining DC democracy and cannabis reform with his own amendment to our budget banning new cannabis reform laws. We can’t let him get away with it. We need to toss him out!
When the DC Cannabis Campaign and the Drug Policy Alliance legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older in Washington DC through Initiative 71, our team never expected there would be ongoing contradictory prohibitionist policies dating from Reagan and Clinton era drug laws were going to remain on the books. But despite massive public support for legalization remaining high, the old rules are still buried within federal programs. The travesty of official prejudices against cannabis users, growers and their families cuts across numerous government agencies to this day. The failure to correct outdated laws by a deadlocked Congress denies taxpaying, personal sacrificing Americans, like veterans and first responders, their guaranteed equal rights as well. The Federal government uses inhumane punishments of cannabis users, such as 24-hour notice eviction from public housing and denial of access to medicine’s like CBD and THC to Veterans 100% of the time. In response, DCMJ is launching the Bring it Home Campaign on Monday, April 2, 2018. I hope you will join us at cannabis giveaways at HUD Headquarters and at DC Housing Authority that day.
Mistreatment of millions of Americans simply because of where they live and their decision to grow or use cannabis must stop! The DEA promotes an ingrained punitive caste system for cannabis users that cuts across income and racial lines even after 20 years of major progresses by reformers. With poor Americans getting the worst form of second-class legalization, we all morally suffer without federal legalization moving forward. The businessperson, consumer, and community interests, all get shuffled aside because the GOP congress won’t deschedule cannabis and the President won’t demand change of his Drug Enforcement Agency, which can update the scheduling status of cannabis under existing law.
Meanwhile, those with the least have no lawful place to use cannabis. Small Ganjapreneurs providing the market valuable competition and consumer choices are feeling the heat of law enforcement increasingly. This kind of punishment and aggravation for anyone selling cannabis is unfair and not what the people voted for. We can’t accept Congressional inaction any longer. We want major changes to how small-scale cannabis is regulated and we need to legalize small scale-activity to empower everyone.
Legalization without commercialization is a temporary state of affairs for the people of Washington, DC. Don’t take your eyes off the prize of an inclusive cannabis economy everywhere. The first step to real cannabis freedom and bringing it home is firing Congressman Andy Harris. Get involved, united we can do it!
Adam Eidinger is Social Action Director for Dr. Bronner’s and co-Founder of DCMJ which organized Initiative 71. He co-founded Capitol Hemp in 2007 and was chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign in 2014. Today, he lives in Washington DC with his 14-year-old daughter.