The Obama administration’s unenthusiastic response in a meeting with marijuana advocates Monday isn’t too surprising. Despite looking cool smoking a joint and wearing a panama hat as a young man, the lame duck president has been pretty muted as a proponent of either marijuana or panama hats in his two terms.
What is surprising is that the meeting actually happened at all. The group DCMJ (guess what it stands for) staged a smoke sesh rally outside the White House earlier this month in which they fly a giant joint balloon float. Despite what sounds kind of like the antics of pothead teen pranksters, someone in the administration decided to hear them out in a sit down.
DCMJ leaders Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller met with two officials. The activists said their arguments were responded to with, “a lot of nods, a lot of smiles,” and not much else, according to an interview they gave Leafly.
But it looks like the meeting was not all for naught. Edinger said he felt the officials were truly listening to the DCMJ’s pleas, saying, “They both displayed thoughtful, sincere body language during the entire meeting.”
The advocates argued for two main steps to be taken by the White House. First, to schedule a big serious for-real official cannabis meeting. Eidinger said they offered their own services to organize the event in which top officials “really do listen and we bring in patient advocates, we bring in victims who have been in jail for a long time for low-level marijuana offenses, we can bring in senior citizens who [benefit] from the medicine, who weren’t believers but now they are…”
Eidinger said the group doesn’t intend to do any more protests, but said to the officials that “we’re going to if you don’t begin this dialogue.”
The second point the DCMJ made was that they want the executive branch of government to set things right for federal cannabis law, as opposed to waiting for congress to take care of the problem on its own.
“We need a federal bill that the President supports,” Eidinger said. “The White House could listen for a year and then present Congress with a coherent federal policy. Take it entirely out of the Controlled Substances Act and treat it separately. Marijuana is not a drug, marijuana is a plant… This is a plant, it’s very straightforward, it’s nonlethal, it doesn’t have any lethality that would justify imprisoning the people who sell it.”
No word yet on whether such a meeting is likely to take place. As encouraging as the White House’s willingness to meet with cannabis advocates is, even Eidinger admits that “it’s going to take a year of dialogue at the federal level to figure out federal legalization.” If that conservative estimate turns out to be true, then by the time they get close to figuring out this federal legalization, there’s going to be a new, very possibly less progressive administration in the White House, so hopefully those officials put in a really good word for Eidinger and company with the people who take their jobs.
Photo via Flickr user Philip Bump