Bill Maher’s “Smoke-Out” Protest
Will a “smoke-out” protest on the White House’s front lawn push President Obama to rethink federal cannabis laws?
Earlier this year, President Obama announced that he had no plans to focus on changing marijuana laws during his last year as president.
The announcement has drawn criticism from the cannabis community. Now a group of activists based in Washington, D.C. is planning a massive “smoke-out” to protest the President’s statement.
The protest was inspired by Bill Maher, who recently carried out his own personal “smoke-out” while on the air.
Adam Eidinger, organizer for the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, is spearheading the upcoming action.
“There is a huge pent-up demand for this right now, we actually do have the support to do this,” he told reporters.
“We’re calling on the whole country to come. This is a national mobilization. Some of us may end up in jail, and that’s fine. It’s actually necessary at this point.”
Eidinger said his plan is to bring together a large group of cannabis activists on April 2 to stage a protest in front of the White House.
The centerpiece of the action is scheduled to occur at 4:20 p.m., when the plan is for everyone to begin smoking marijuana.
According to Eidinger, there are two main concerns the protest is hoping to draw attention to.
The first is President Obama’s refusal to catalyze any sort changes to federal marijuana laws.
The second is to ask the President to pardon anyone currently incarcerated for a marijuana-related crime.
Over the course of President Obama’s tenure as president, his Administration has remained fairly consistently opposed to making any changes to federal cannabis laws.
There was some speculation toward the end of December, however, that the President might change course during 2016.
That speculation came in December, after Obama directed the Supreme Court to side with Colorado when Nebraska and Oklahoma attempted to sue the 420-friendly state for its cannabis laws.
Despite Obama’s defense of states’ rights to define their own marijuana laws, the Obama Administration’s official stance on cannabis has remained consistently against legalization over the past eight years.
The White House’s official website says: “The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly the young.”
A recent review of the rates of federal dispensary raids seems to indicate that the White House has followed through on its stated position.
There have been more federal raids on legal dispensaries in Obama’s time as president than there were during George W. Bush’s. Similarly, the Obama Administration has spent more money cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries than Bush’s did.