Pro-pot activists plan to hand out marijuana joints outside Capitol on 4/20

Posted at 8:40 AM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 09:01:24-04

WASHINGTON — Advocates for legalized pot plan to hand out free joints to Congressional staffers and reporters who work on Capitol Hill on Thursday, April 20th, also known as “420.”

A volunteer working for the DCMJ, a Washington group calling for cannabis to be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, takes a break for a smoke after he and friends rolled hundreds and hundreds of marijuana joints on April 13, 2017, in preparation for their April 20th (420) protest that gathers at “High Noon” at the U.S. Capitol calling on legislators to relax marijuana laws. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The action scheduled for Thursday afternoon is intended as a protest against federal interference with states that have legal pot.

420 is a slang term for marijuana, and the date — April 20 — is celebrated by pot users annually.

Recreational marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia as a result of a ballot initiative voters approved in 2014. Giving it away for free is also legal, so participants in Thursday’s action won’t be risking arrest.

The city government has been barred by Congress from taxing pot or regulating its sale.

Another protest is scheduled for Monday that could lead to arrests.

Activists plan to light up and smoke pot near the Capitol. Smoking in public remains illegal in Washington, although the prohibition often goes unenforced.

The push to legalize marijuana has picked up speed in recent years — with eight states and the District of Columbia passing laws legalizing recreational marijuana use since 2012, four of those — California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada — approving it in last year’s election.

Despite the trend, it remains a Schedule 1 drug by federal standards.

To rectify federal and state laws, the Obama administration in 2013 announced plans not to enforce anti-marijuana federal laws in states that legalized the drug. However, the current Trump administration has hinted it will crack down on recreational use.

In New York and New Jersey, recreational use is not currently legal, but medical marijuana is, according to

PIX11’s Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.