Marijuana activists arrested for smoking outside GOP lawmaker's office

Marijuana activists arrested for smoking outside GOP lawmaker's office
© Greg Nash

Two marijuana activists were arrested for smoking marijuana in the hallway outside a GOP lawmaker's office on Tuesday.

Activists from the DC Marijuana Justice group originally attempted to force their way through Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisHouse conservatives attempt to access closed-door impeachment hearing GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE's (R-Md.) door in order to protest his stance on cannabis, according to the congressman's office.

Shortly after noon, Capitol Police responded to a report of "unlawful demonstration activity" and "two demonstrators were observed to display and light marijuana cigarettes," according to a police statement.

"Two female suspects were arrested and transported to USCP Headquarters for processing," according to a Capitol Police spokesperson. The two women were arrested for consumption of marijuana in public. 

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A GOP aide said as Harris tried to walk through a private door, protestors bruised the congressman's wrist while attempting to forcibly enter the room.

 

Harris, a former doctor, has long been vocal in his opposition to legalizing marijuana, arguing it poses health risks to those who use it, and has worked to block the District of Columbia's efforts to decriminalize marijuana and legalize its recreational use. 

Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Maryland and is legal in Washington, D.C. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law and in federal buildings.

Adam Eidinger — a protestor who had proposed an initiative to legalize marijuana in the District — said he believes Harris's position on decriminalizing marijuana has negative implications on the battle against the opioid crisis. 

"He actually arrived, he kind of pushed past them and slammed the door in their face as they tried to follow him into the office and then they decided to sit down in front of his door and they waited it out, they lied down, he wrote a few statements about loved ones who recently died," he told The Hill.

"We're basically saying that cannabis is an exit drug from opioids and that this congressman is standing in the way and he has a vested interest. He gets a lot of funding, over $200,000 from medical pharma people."

Harris blasted the demonstrators' actions, arguing there is a more peaceful approach to protesting.

“Today’s aggression by protesters who disagree with my position on the legalization of recreational marijuana demonstrates the problem with political discourse today. We all must agree to have a civilized debate when disagreement occurs. My parents fled communist Eastern Europe where people with different political opinions were harassed and punished, and it has no place in America," he said in a statement.

The protestors said they plan to protest Harris's local office later in the day.

-Updated 4:27 p.m.