There will be some uninvited guests at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration later this month - 4,200 of them to be exact. That's the number of joints that marijuana legalization activists plan to hand out to the crowd during the festivities.
And the most surprising thing is what they're doing is legal - so long as they don't receive any money for the joints. In 2014, local voters passed Initiative 71, which legalized the possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis in the District of Columbia. Selling it remains illegal though. So the giveaway is legit.
But the synchronized smoking session that activists plan to kick off that day at 4:20 PM isn't. Public consumption isn't allowed in D.C. or the states that have legalized recreational cannabis use. And the DCMJ wants participants to know that before sparking up.
"We are going to tell them that if they smoke on federal property, they are risking arrest. But, that's a form of civil disobedience," said Adam Eidinger - Founder of DCMJ, the activist group behind Initiative 71. "I think it's a good protest. If someone wants to do it, they are risking arrest, but it's a protest and you know what, the National Mall is a place for protest."
Even though cannabis consumption is legal in D.C., Eidinger feels that his group needs to protest on behalf of jurisdictions where cannabis prohibition is still in effect. “The main message is it’s time to legalize cannabis at the federal level," he told local CBS affiliate WUSA 9. His group is also worried that the Trump Administration might try to rollback the gains made by the legalization movement -- especially since The Donald has tapped anti-cannabis Senator Jeff Sessions as the next attorney general.
"We are looking at a guy who as recently as April said that they are going to enforce federal law on marijuana all over the country. He said marijuana is dangerous," Eidinger told WUSA 9. So the goal is to prove Sessions wrong with a peaceful and friendly giveaway.
And Eidinger's fine with handing out thousands of joints for free. "We don't want any money exchanged whatsoever, this is really a gift for people who come to Washington, D.C.," he added.
The Inauguration Day protest is the latest in a series of publicity stunts on behalf of the legalization movement. Last April, Eidinger and the DCMJ protested federal prohibition by hosting a smoke session right outside the White House. And to catch people's attention, his group brought a 51 foot long inflatable joint to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
No word yet on whether or not the giant joint will crash the inauguration. But here's a look at it in case you didn't see it in the news last spring.
Banner image: AUGUST 14, 2016 : View of the National Mall in Washington D.C. with the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. (Kamira / Shutterstock.com)