On Saturday April 1, cannabis activists led by organizer Adam Eidinger did something fewer and fewer people seem to be doing during the Trump Primary Season From Hell™ and tore their eyes away from their 24-hour news stations, Twitter feeds, Donald Doomsday bunkers, Instagram feuds and very recently published non-fiction treatises about the TPSFH™ from the Barnes and Noble Buy Two Get One table.
Thus freed, they took to the streets and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House. Just 100-strong, they made their point known not through numbers but through their simple message. Carrying a 51-foot-long inflatable joint, they approached the Obama White House—a White House that has allowed the federal government to continue waging its war on cannabis despite promises that it has “better things to do” than bother itself with the plant.
The joint was eventually stopped by a human wall of law enforcement officials, whom Eidinger negotiated with, securing passage for the crowd, but forcing them to fold up the joint under the pretense of maintaining visibility of the White House for tourists.
The protest wasn’t the biggest in D.C. this year. It probably wasn’t even the biggest this week. But its message, scrawled across the giant joint, “Deschedule Cannabis” reflects the remarkable change of tone that has happened in political circles regarding cannabis.
A mere decade ago, the Bush presidency made an end to the war on cannabis seem like a pipe dream at best and psychosis at worst, but in the past 10 years cannabis has undergone a massive transformation thanks to increased medical respect and the passing of a torch from one generation of old-timers raised during a time when pot was dope to a generation of old-timers raised during the freewheeling 1960s.
The protesters in Washington reflect that change by calling not for a rescheduling of cannabis but a descheduling. The conversation about cannabis becomes a little bit more open-minded every day, and more and more protesters like Eidinger’s group are feeling empowered to lay off conservative, appeasing goals like rescheduling when they truly believe that cannabis shouldn’t be treated as a drug at all.
It’s movements like these that remind us despite the endlessness and seeming futility of the primary process, November will give many voters a chance to make their voices heard individually through referenda—2016 stands to be an incredibly big year for cannabis. This possibility is currently obscured by a media circus, but it will eventually show through. The hundred people who marched on the White House on Saturday were merely the vanguard. The main force is still in reserve.