Dozens, Maybe Hundreds, Smoke Marijuana in Front of White House; Two Fined $25 Each

by | Apr 3, 2016

Saturday saw marijuana prohibition protestors walking through the United States capital city to outside the White House. Once there, dozens — maybe hundreds — of the protestors smoked marijuana. The response of the many assembled police to the lawbreaking: two people were fined $25 each for public consumption of marijuana. Oh, and it seems some police chased protestors who had inflated a 51-foot “joint” after police had told them not to do so.

Steven Nelson provides the details in his lively US News and World Report article concerning the protest.

Would police have arrested many more protestors and would prosecutors now be stacking up charges against the arrested individuals if Washington, DC voters had not in 2014 approved legalizing recreational marijuana use? Certainly, local police in cities without legal recreational marijuana have decided to just keep the peace — instead of rushing in to enforce prohibition — at some other smoke-ins similar to the one in DC Saturday. But, in DC it was not just local police who exercised restraint. US government police from the Secret Service and the National Park Service present at the protest appear to have refrained from enforcing marijuana prohibition.

The status of marijuana under local law may not be the only factor that encouraged US government police not to enforce US marijuana laws at the Saturday smoke-in. The solid majority support nationwide for marijuana legalization may also have played a role.

One perplexing aspect of the protest is that it was titled “Reschedule 420.” Seeking that the US government reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a meek goal. I doubt many of the protestors would feel satisfied if it were announced that marijuana has been moved down from CSA Schedule I to join cocaine and oxycodone in Schedule II. Instead, what nearly all the protestors likely want is for the US government to terminate altogether its war on marijuana.

You can watch here a short video from the Washington, DC marijuana smoke-in, including comments from the people fined for public consumption of marijuana:


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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