Recently a group of zealous activists, led by Adam Eidinger, smoked weed in front of the White House to protest cannabis prohibition in America. Following the protest, advocates were shocked to learn that they had been granted permission to attend a meeting with White House officials– Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Shiller were set to argue with what they thought would be members of the Obama Administration. Eidinger was responsible for passing Initiative 71 which legalizes up to two ounces or less in the District of Columbia. The Monday meeting came and went. Instead of the Obama Administration meeting with them face to face, they were only greeted by low-level staffers from President Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The event took place near the White House on April 25th 2016.
It took a 51-foot joint directly in front of the White House to capture the President’s attention. Protesters cleverly evaded authorities by deflating then re-inflating the supersized joint. The White House protest on April 2 drew national attention. “Due to popular demand, we’re rescheduling 4/20 this year to 4/2 because Obama’s been a BIG ZERO on cannabis reform,” the fliers read. Aside from attracting widespread notoriety, the Bud Summit did little if anything to change federal drug laws.
“They didn’t say a lot; they took notes, maybe four pages’ worth,” Adam Eidinger told the Washington Post. Eidinger says very few questions were answered. “We asked questions, but they didn’t answer… They nodded a lot. I think they understood us.” Eidinger has previously sent a letter to the Obama Administration, asking for a cannabis summit. “As a former cannabis user, you know firsthand that cannabis does not belong in the Controlled Substances Act,” Eidinger argued in the letter. Eidinger was only greeted by two junior-level staffers from Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The meeting was held not in the White House, but a conference room next door. The entire even took about 30 minutes. It was disappointing to say the least.
Former Governor Gary Johnson predicted that POTUS Obama would reschedule cannabis as a going away gift. President Obama has said that he has no plans on reclassifying marijuana on his schedule before the end of his term. Reclassifying cannabis on a federal level begins in the House of Representatives, according to President Obama. “What is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” he told CNN in an interview.
A White House spokesman gave a depressing and unfortunately redundant response to the Monday meeting. “Over the years, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has met with numerous organizations representing varied perspectives on drug policy, a spokesperson said. “As laid out in the National Drug Control Strategy, the Administration’s drug policy continues to focus on a balanced public health and public safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences.”
In Obama’s first term following the Bush Administration, the US government continued to aggressively crack down on medical cannabis collectives. In his second term, he allowed state to legalize cananbis as they see fit. Despite POTUS Obama’s inaction over federal drug laws, he has, however, shown more support for cannabis overall compared to his peer Presidents. Unfortunately, the recent meeting at the White House doesn’t seem to change anything.
Eidinger’s job at hand is nowhere near over. He’s waiting for the White House to take a more serious look at cannabis reform. He says he plans on writing more letters.