Secret Service block pro-marijuana protesters from carrying their 51-foot inflated marijuana joint down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Photo / Getty Images
The mass of protesters gathered outside the White House couldn’t quite wait for 4.20pm, the time they had designated to light their joints and pipes in protest of the federal laws that prohibit marijuana’s consumption.
Just past 4.17pm local time yesterday, plumes of cannabis smoke arose from the crowd of more than 100 people, which was surrounded by officers from the US
Park Police, Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service.
Still, because the activists remained on the street (owned by the District, which has legalised cannabis possession) and off the footpaths (owned by the federal Government, which has not) no one was arrested.
Just two people were given citations and US$25 ($36.20) fines for public consumption. A man who knew the pair said they were confronted by police only after a member of their group accidentally blew smoke in an officer’s face.
The protest’s centrepiece was a giant balloon created to look like a joint.
Initially the protesters carried the 15m tube to the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but Secret Service agents refused to let them bring the object to the White House while it remained inflated.
Adam Eidinger, the protest’s organiser, has said that President Barack Obama must work harder to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances, which includes heroin and ecstasy.
Eidinger described the smoke-in as the most aggressive way he could of think of to draw attention to the roughly five million marijuana-related arrests since Obama took office.