Article by Rachel Kurzius, DCist
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of D.C. has dropped possession charges against a prominent pot activist stemming from a joint giveaway on April 20 near Capitol Hill.
Adam Eidinger, a cofounder of local cannabis advocacy group DCMJ, was one of eight people arrested by Capitol Police, who also confiscated more than 1,000 joints from activists who were handing them out to Hill staffers.
DCMJ, which planned the event, chose the corner of 1st St NE and Constitution Ave NE as the location for the giveaway because it’s technically D.C., not federal, land. While District law allows people to give away up to an ounce of marijuana under Initiative 71, federal law does not.
A statement from Capitol Police that day said that their officers began arresting people “after witnessing them distributing marijuana in public view to passersby at First and Constitution Avenue, NE,” citing federal law, under which it is illegal to possess marijuana.
The arrests began less than an hour after the giveaway did, though the event continued despite three separate waves of arrests. The giveaway did not end until Capitol Police confiscated the remaining marijuana. DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller estimated that they had given away joints to around 100 people before police shut it down.
Ultimately, while all eight of the arrestees spent that night in jail, the U.S. Attorney’s Office only charged two of them—Eidinger and William Angolia. Both were charged with possession of a controlled substance under D.C. law, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.