Bill Maher Inspires Plan for DC Pro-Marijuana Protest

By May Wilkerson 03/03/16

Comedian Bill Maher's recent warning to the pro-cannabis community has pushed marijuana activists to rally for the cause in DC next month.

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Bill Maher Inspires Plan for DC Pro-Marijuana Protest
HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher

Activists in Washington, D.C. are tired of waiting around for marijuana reform. Inspired by comedian Bill Maher, pro-pot activist group D.C. Cannabis Campaign is planning a rally in front of the White House on April 2—a nod to the official marijuana holiday, 4/20. At the protest, speakers will demand that President Obama grant pardons to Americans in prison for pot-related crimes and to reschedule marijuana from its classification as a Schedule I drug.

"There is a huge pent-up demand for this right now, we actually do have the support to do this," said the group’s organizer, Adam Eidinger. "We're calling on the whole country to come. This is a national mobilization."

Those who attend the rally will be encouraged to commit acts of civil disobedience to get their point across. “Some of us may end up in jail, and that’s fine,” said Eidinger. “It’s actually necessary at this point.”

The idea for the protest was sparked by Maher, who recently warned on his HBO show that state-level pot laws are fragile, so long as federal prohibition remains. The host then smoked a joint on-air and cautioned viewers that legalization should not be taken for granted. Recreational marijuana is currently legal and regulated in four states and the District of Columbia. Even though marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, the Obama administration has largely turned a blind eye. The protest is being held before the end of Obama’s term in hopes that he will take action before a potentially more conservative President takes office.

"We have to take action now, that's the idea," said Eidinger. "If it’s not going to happen under Obama, it’s sure as hell not going to happen with Hillary." The Cannabis Campaign protest was announced yesterday on Super Tuesday, one of the most significant days of the presidential primaries.

Both Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton are generally seen as bad news for the pro-pot movement. Eidinger believes reformers have a much better chance of trying to get marijuana rescheduled during Obama’s term.

Eidinger also called out Obama for condemning the War on Drugs, but not taking further action. "He should pardon tens of thousands of marijuana growers in jail right now. And he should be pardoning them all," he said. "The War on Drugs is a failure? Mass incarceration is a failure? Then do something about it."

Eidinger said he hopes more than 1,000 people will attend the protest. No word on whether Maher will attend, though he was invited.   

Watch the Bill Maher segment that inspired the protest below:

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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