An overwhelming 71 percent also oppose the federal government's efforts to prevent marijuana sales and use in the states that have passed legislation legalizing it. According to DCist, DCMJ members were sitting a table giving away the joints, but even though giving away weed is entirely legal in D.C., they were tripped up by a technicality: they were on federal lands, which made it a crime.
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The arrests occurred on the day known as 4/20, considered a national holiday by pot enthusiasts who held public smoke-outs around the United States. The event was being billed as a ― wait for it ― "Joint Session For Congress".
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To commemorate the occasion, advocates for legalized pot handed out free joints to congressional staffers and reporters on Capitol Hill.
Organizers with DCMJ, a cannabis advocacy group focused on marijuana law in Washington, D.C., will head to Capitol Hill Thursday for a 4/20 demonstration slated to start around noon and extend into the evening. People living in the District can grow up to six plants inside their home or purchase medical marijuana if they have a qualifying condition.
Pot shops in some legal marijuana states were offering discounts.
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Three were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and four were charged with possession, said Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police.
To the dismay of some in a crowd of a few dozen people, the giveaway wasn't for everyone: Only members of Congress, congressional staff, Capitol Hill support staff and credentialed journalists older than 21 were invited to take two free joints.
In a statement, DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller called the arrests "an unlawful violation of our most basic civil liberties".
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He and others planned to protest for marijuana reforms on Monday by lighting up on the Capitol grounds. As Schiller noted, members of Congress and their staffs are not subject to the drug testing statutes that keep other federal employees, including contractors who work in Congress, from consuming marijuana. "Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books".