A District of Columbia-based marijuana activist who handed out free joints earlier this year during a protest near the U.S. Capitol will no longer have worry about facing federal charges.
According to a report from the Washington Post, all of the charges filed against Adam Eidinger for his role in an April 20th protest, where complimentary weed was distributed to Congressional staff members, have been dismissed. Eidinger, one of the leading masterminds behind the campaign to legalize marijuana in the District, was facing misdemeanor possession charges for holding nearly 80 joints at the time he was arrested.
The charges were dropped after officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration determined that Eidinger was holding less than two ounces of marijuana, which is legally permitted in the District. Eidinger, who has been forced to make several court appearances since his arrest, believes all of the trouble stems from the federal government not understanding “that people have a right to give cannabis away in the District.”
“They don’t have a very good legal argument to prosecute them,” he said.
While marijuana is legal to possess, grow and give away in the District, it remains illegal to carry it on federal land. But Eidinger told the Post that he was careful to ensure that the protest did not take place where federal jurisdiction prevailed. He also said he was meticulous about keeping his pot possession limits in line with the local law.
But because Capitol Police also have jurisdiction in local areas, “federal law was applied” in Eidinger’s case, said Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki.
Eidinger’s legal counsel has maintained that the whole situation was “bogus” from the very beginning. There is even speculation that the bust was simply a message from U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions that these types of pot-laden shenanigans would not be tolerated in the nation’s capital.
A total of eight people were arrested at the 4/20 protest, but only two of them, including Eidinger, were charged with a crime.
So far, federal prosecutors have remained silent about why the charges against Eidinger were dropped.