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Pot Activists Face Federal Charges for Offering Free Joints to Congressional Staff

Giving away marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., but still federally prohibited.

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Seven marijuana activists were arrested on federal charges yesterday for offering free joints to Congressional staff, even though they were in compliance with Washington D.C. laws.

On 4/20, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ) brought 1,227 joints to offer to any willing Capitol Hill staff in order to show support for House bill H.R. 1227 , which would cut back federal cannabis prohibition. The activists deliberately set up on non-federally-owned land, so that they would remain in accordance with D.C. law, which allows individuals to possess and give away small amounts of marijuana.

This didn't stop the U.S. Capitol Police from stepping in and arresting seven activists. The majority of the joints that were to be handed out were reportedly seized by the police as well. "It looks like the police stole most of our cannabis," said Nikolas Schiller, co-founder of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign. "We're going to be suing the hell out of U.S. Capitol Police."

“Under federal law, it is unlawful to possess marijuana,” Eva Malecki, communications director for U.S. Capitol Police, said in a statement. “As of 2:30 p.m., one adult male and two adult female arrestees were charged with 21 USC 841(a) (possession with intent to distribute). Four adult females were charged with 21 USC 844(a) (possession).”

Adam Eidinger, the other co-founder of DCMJ, was among those arrested. “The irony is today was not civil disobedience,” Eidinger said as he was being arrested. “Today was lawful behavior.”

DCMJ had also planned a civil disobedience protest for this Monday, where activists would smoke pot on the steps of the Capitol. It is not yet known how the current arrests will affect those plans.