Safe Cannabis Act – Community Feedback

Give DC residents a Fair Shot in the cannabis industry
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On May 2, 2019, Mayor Bowser announced her long-awaited tax & regulate legislation. In February 2019, DCMJ met with members of the Mayor’s office to discuss our suggested changes to DC’s cannabis law, and while some of our suggested changes were incorporated into the Safe Cannabis Act, many were not.

This draft legislation was transmitted to the DC Council and introduced on May 6 as B23-0280 – Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019. Different sections of the law were referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development, Committee on Finance and Revenue, Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, and Committee of the Whole. No hearings have been scheduled yet.

Numerous members of the DC cannabis community have brought to our attention that some changes in the legislation may negatively impact the rights we earned through the passage of Initiative 71, so we have developed this page on our website as a means to solicit feedback from all community stakeholders.

The Mayor’s draft legislation is a starting point, not the end point. There will be a least one hearing where the general public (YOU!) will be able to testify on positives, negatives, and suggested changes to the legislation. After the hearing, the legislation will be amended based on community input before it is finally voted on in the various committees. It will also be voted on by the entire DC Council, where even more amendments can be made before the legislation becomes law. The final DC Council vote will not happen before October 1, 2019, so we have all summer to work on making this legislation better.

In order to obtain the DC cannabis community’s concerns about this legislation, we have created a thorough community feedback form here on our website. The entire legislation broken into chapters where you can provide feedback for each section. At an upcoming DCMJ Planning Meeting, before the public hearing, we will go over the community feedback and draft our testimony based on the feedback you provide.


  • We suggest reading the entire legislation first before making any comments. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the law! By reading the legislation in it’s entirety you can get a better picture of the legislation.
  • Find parts of the legislation you like, dislike, would like to have changed or added to
  • Find the corresponding Chapter and Section on this page (Like Chapter 25, Section 03 = 2503) and select the proper dropdown box. Some Sections have Subsections (a, b, c, d, etc.), while others don’t. To ensure your feedback is the most direct, include the Subsection when available
  • Enter your feedback into the Google Form. Be as descriptive as possible. Explain why you think the section is good, bad, needs to be removed, or changed
  • Attend an upcoming DCMJ Planning Meeting to discuss your feedback and hear other’s feedback. By including your email address, we will add you to the DCMJ email list so you’ll know when we are discussing the legislation next

Together we’ll end up with the best cannabis legislation in the country. Now is not the time to protest the draft legislation, rather it’s time to work together to craft what we want. If the final legislation totally sucks, we can always do another ballot initiative!

NOTE: The Community Feedback starts on Page 5 of the draft legislation. The first 4 pages are not regarded as important to the nature of the proposed legislation but are included below:

Sec. 2. Title 25 of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended as follows:
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Congressional Seed-In

Friday, March 8, 2018

ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671

“Congressional Seed-In” Announced for April 2, 2019

Citizens to Lawfully Give Viable Cannabis Seeds to Members of Congress to Demand Federal Legislation to Grow Cannabis At Home

No Current Legislation in Congress Explicitly Legalizes Home Cultivation as Corporate Lobby Grab Leaves Many Americans No Way Grow

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, cannabis reform advocates from DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”), Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”), and Virginia Marijuana Justice (“VAMJ”) will descend on Capitol Hill to lawfully give away cannabis seeds to members of Congress and their staff, 21 years of age and older. The action is to call for cannabis consumer-friendly legislation that permits adults to grow cannabis in the comfort and privacy of their homes & backyards.

“As full legalization & descheduling of cannabis approaches cannabis consumers & medical patients must be able to travel throughout the United States without fear of arrest, detainment, or harassment,” says Dawn Lee-Carty, Founder of Speak Life, a mom and founder of Speak Life, an organization dedicated to educating parents and legislators on the benefits of cannabis. Ms. Lee-Carty came to advocate the use of CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis, and THC after pharmaceuticals failed to adequately treat her epileptic 11 year old daughter. Due to the federal prohibitions on cannabis, Ms. Lee-Carty cannot travel with her daughters medicine.

After voters in the District of Columbia approved Initiative 71 in November 2014 and Congress approved the law in February 2015, all adults aged 21 years of age or older can legally grow & possess small amounts cannabis in the District of Columbia. With the annual spring planting taking place after the last frost in late April, the “Congressional Seed-In” aims to help members of Congress and their staff lawfully start their cannabis gardens in the District of Columbia. Outdoor cannabis requires cannabis to be grown in cycle with the seasons, so a timely spring planting is integral to the success of the crop. However, not every American is afforded the right to grow their own cannabis. Instead many Americans are forced to buy their cannabis from dispensaries, which costs as much as 10 times more than home grown cannabis.

“The only legislation we see in the 116th Congress moving is backed by lobbyists to deal with business interests,” says Adam Eidinger, Proposer of Initiative 71 . “We’re going up to the Hill to encourage members of Congress and their staff that they represent more cannabis consumers than cannabis businesses. We want to legally grow cannabis as a basic right and this is frankly more important to me than access to banks or tax reform for huge marijuana businesses,” adds Edinger.

WHO: Members of DCMJ, MDMJ and VAMJ, expert growers, and cannabis reform activists
WHAT: “Congressional Seed-In” – A Seed Giveaway for members of Congress and their staff
WHEN: April 2, 2019, 11:00 am until 4:20 pm – Ending Rally Near Capitol Steps on East side
WHERE: All Congressional Offices in Washington, DC
WHY: Citizens demand meaningful legislation that fully ends prohibition cannabis cultivation for every adult and allows the movement of cannabis between all States.

“I don’t want cannabis grown using nuclear or coal power. I want it grown using natural sunlight. The current system of using costly warehouses to grow cannabis plants under synthetic light using synthetic chemicals is bad for consumers and bad for the environment. There is a better way,” says Ms. Lee-Carty, who currently grows using LED technology, but would prefer to grow her daughter’s cannabis outdoors..

“The age of utilizing expensive warehouses to grow cannabis is a relic of prohibition and DCMJ & MDMJ believe that cannabis should return to the fields from which it was formerly grown,” says MDMJ co-founder Kris Furnish. “Congress and state leaders have been standing in the way of cannabis consumer friendly reform, while poll after poll show that the American public fully supports the full legalization of cannabis, including home grow.

Since its founding in 2013, DCMJ has lead the nation in creative and high-profile cannabis reform activism. After introducing and passing ballot initiative 71, which legalized the possession and cultivation of cannabis in the District of Columbia, DCMJ organized two large seed giveaways that provided all adults the means to grow cannabis for themselves. Since then DCMJ has deployed giant 51’ inflatable joints outside the White House, the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Times Square in New York City, the 2016 Presidential Debates, and Boston’s Freedom Rally, as well as distributing over 10,000 joints of District of Columbia home grown cannabis at the Inauguration of President Donald Trump to most recently, attempting to distribute 1,227 joints at the congressional “Joint Session” in 2017, where U.S. Capitol Police unlawfully arrested seven DCMJ activists. All charges were dropped the following day. The “Congressional Seed-In” is DCMJ’s fourth annual “Reschedule 4/20,” day of action to highlight the need for meaningful cannabis reform legislation in the United States. In 2018 and 2019, aligned organizations MDMJ & VAMJ were formed to advocate for cannabis reform in Maryland and Virginia.



PRESS RELEASE: Congressman Harris’ Office Charges 20 Year Old Student With Felony

Thursday, February 14, 2018

ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671
KRIS FURNISH (720) 607-8369


Harris Tries to Make an Example Out of Young Activist Who Recorded Staffer Without His Permission During Group Meeting After Multiple Protests

SALISBURY, MD – On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Salisbury University progressive student activist Jake Burdett attended a medical marijuana protest against Congressman Andy Harris organized by Maryland’s new cannabis advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ). At the meeting inside the Congressional office that resulted from the protest, Mr. Burdett briefly livestreamed one of Harris’ staffers without his permission, which Mr. Burdett did not realize was a felony – or even illegal in the state of Maryland at all. Mr. Burdett deleted the livestream the following day after he found out his recording was illegal, but Congressman Harris dropped the hammer on Burdett to try to make an example out of him by deciding to press felony charges.

“Jake, who is a serious student leader, has a bright political future ahead of him that Representative Andy Harris wants to tarnish. In his honest attempt to provide the public with transparency into actions of a Congressional office that regularly insults marijuana reformers with false accusations, Jake’s livestream served as a conduit for the public to witness the endemic corruption in Salisbury,” says Adam Eidinger, Co-Founder of MDMJ. Eidinger adds, “MDMJ activists protested Harris for his backwards views on cannabis and refusals to meet with cannabis reform activists, so we feel Jake is being treated unfairly because of his role in the Democratic Party as Vice-Chair of the Wicomico Democratic Central Committee.”

Although Mr. Burdett is pleading guilty and he has personally apologized to Congressman Harris’ staffer, he did not realize the nonconsensual livestream was against Maryland’s “all-party consent” law at the time. “Is it unreasonable for a 20 year old to think that it’s legal to record a staffer of a United States Congressman in a public space? In a society that supposedly values transparency in government, I do find it odd that Jake can be found guilty of the ‘crime’ of recording the staff of elected government representatives in a taxpayer funded space,” says MDMJ Co-Founder Kris Furnish.

“By deciding to throw the book at Mr. Burdett for an honest mistake, one that was fixed almost immediately, it shows how partisan and petty Congressman Harris has become. He clearly wants to chill citizen participation in government,” says Eidinger. “Rep. Harris is adding to his recent list of bad PR moves that includes meeting with known White Supremacist Chuck Johnson, and planning to meet with the leader, Tomio Okamura, of a far right wing party in Czech Republic, whose secretary called for the gassing of ‘Jews, gays, and Roma’.”

“Mr. Burdett’s plea, which will take place on March 1, in Wicomico County, and Harris’ slew of prior racist scandals, should not distract from the original issue that brought me and other advocates to the protest in the first place – the legalization of cannabis,” says Furnish. “Rep. Harris wants to pretend to be victimized by a 20 year old’s deleted livestream, while he supports the racist war on drugs that actually victimizes thousands of people a day by locking them up for the victimless crime of smoking marijuana, a non-addictive substance with many medicinal benefits. Rep. Harris is a medical doctor, so I’d think he of all people would recognize the medicinal benefits of marijuana, and how it could be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs such as painkillers, which are an epidemic in Rep. Harris’ district right now. We can’t help but wonder if Rep. Harris’ seemingly irrational opposition to legal marijuana has anything to do with the $42,200 he’s accepted from the pharmaceutical lobby in the 2017-2018 election cycle, which vehemently opposes any form of marijuana legalization,” concludes Furnish.


FEEDBACK REQUESTED! DCMJ’s Suggestions for Cannabis Reform Legislation

DCMJ will soon be meeting with members of the DC government to discuss the proposed changes to DC’s cannabis legislation. Below are some of our suggestions and we’d love to hear from you as to what we should add or change. Please read the suggestions below and fill out the Google Form to provide us with needed feedback!

VERSION 2.0 IS BELOW! THANK YOU FOR THE FEEDBACK! We have updated the document:

Current and former cannabis users and growers in the DC have asked us to share some suggestions for model legislation that should be included in future cannabis reform legislation.

Expert home growers in the District of Columbia may have yields higher than they need for personal use, while some horticulturalists often grow cannabis they will never consume. DCMJ wants expert growers to be able to sell their excess cannabis at farmer’s markets in the District of Columbia. By providing an outlet for locally grown cannabis, the DC government can ensure more dollars are circulated locally and collect sales tax.Moreover, many growers do not have the capital to invest in a large-scale growing facility, but can provide the marketplace with unique varieties of cannabis. Some strains of cannabis are not profitable for large-scale cultivation, but small home growers can fill the niche if they are given the opportunity to sell their extra cannabis. There is a fine line between legal sales and illegal sales and we believe it primarily involves volume of sales. No one cares if a gardener in DC sells their extra tomatoes to their next-door neighbor, and we believe the same case should be made for cannabis. However, if an adult wants to sell in an established marketplace, we believe they should obtain a “micro-cultivators license” to ensure they follow the rules. With this license, the grower would be permitted to transport more cannabis than regular citizens would be permitted to possess outside of their homes.

There are many marijuana arrest & conviction records still on the books. These need to be deleted. Citizens should not be required to initiate the expungement, rather we are asking for legislation that compels the Attorney General’s office to begin the process of deleting all records related to marijuana arrests and convictions. This is being done in jurisdictions around the country and the District of Columbia should follow suit. Often people were arrested for other items, but cannabis was used as the pretext for the arrest. We believe these records should be expunged as well, with the exception of the possession of weapons or in the case of violent crime. More importantly, we believe the expungement should not have a time limit on how far back the arrest and/or conviction happened.

The creation of government cartels, where only a few licenses are given out, only hurts the consumer. In every jurisdiction were licenses are scarce, prices for cannabis are dictated by the licensee, not the market and consumers end up paying more than they should. With thousands of alcohol licenses in DC, we’ve seen that the open market does a better job in ensure proper compliance and competition. We believe the same should happen within the District’s cannabis marketplace. The best way to ensure fair prices, quality product, proper taxation & regulation is to not place an arbitrary limit on the number of licenses at the beginning of the process, rather if the licensing becomes a burden on the government, then a cap should be temporarily placed on new licenses. By limiting the number of licenses from the start, we believe the DC government will be doing a disservice to entrepreneurs and consumers.

Ballot Initiative 71 allows adults to grow 6 plants if they live alone and up to 12 plants if they live with another adult. One unique aspect of this law is that it doesn’t require the plants to be grown together, placed in a locked room, or other supposed safeguards other jurisdictions have arbitrarily placed on growing cannabis at home. We are not aware of any instances where cannabis plants have been stolen due to a lack of supposed safeguards. However, we have heard many requests from growers would that like to be able to use more space at their homes to grow more cannabis, but the current plant count limitation prevents this. In some jurisdictions the plant count is superceded by the amount of space a grower can legally use. For example, home growers with an extra bedroom could grow more than 12 plants in a 15’x15’ space but under the current law, they are capped at a maximum of 12 plants. We believe a home grower could register their grow space with DCRA, pay a “home grow license” fee, and be able to increase their plant count as long as the plants remain within the licenses space in their home. Akin to a home office, there is a license process that could be replicated to allow for home growers to increase their plant count without too much effort or strain on District government resources. With that said, DCMJ is against any changes to the rights created by voter-approved ballot initiativ. Meaning, if someone wants to grow 6 plants at home and not register with DCRA, they should be allowed to grow privately at home, but if they want to grow more than what Ballot Initiative 71 permits, they should register with DCRA.

Ballot Initiative 71 does not address cannabis-infused food items nor cannabis concentrates. Currently these are treated as “hash” under the District’s definition of cannabis. We believe the definition should be amended to be more comprehensive and include dry flower, edibles, concentrates, plants, and cuttings. We do not believe there should be any type of increase penalties for cannabis related offenses. Rather, we believe civil fines & community service are a better deterrent than jail time. With that said, many adults do not want to consume cannabis flower by the inhalation of smoke or vapor and would prefer to consume it through foods or drinks. While others prefer to consume cannabis in concentrated forms known as “wax” or “shatter” or “hash.” We believe that adults should be able to consume cannabis whichever way they prefer and there shouldn’t be arbitrary restrictions on the methods of consumption.

The branches on a large female cannabis plant can be trimmed to create cuttings (otherwise known as “clones”). These cuttings can be placed in a glass of water and will eventually develop roots under proper lighting, whereupon the cutting can then be transferred to a growing medium, like soil, to grow into a full-sized plant. This is a popular way for growers to share their genetics with other growers. Ballot Initiative 71 does not adequately differentiate between a plant and a cutting. We believe home growers would benefit by a better definition of a plant being at least 12 inches in size. As in only cuttings that are 1 foot or taller would be considered a plant and anything below that size would be considered a cutting and not included in the total plant count. Moreover, a under Ballot Initiative 71 an adult can give up to an ounce of cannabis to another adult and the current interpretation of the law by many growers is that a cutting that weighs less than 1 ounce can be given to another adult in compliance with the law. If the definition of the plant is revised, we believe that adults should be able to give another adult at least 12 cuttings at a time. Since Ballot Initiative 71 does not differentiate between dry cannabis (flower aka “bud”) from non-smokable cannabis (a cutting), it would be in the best interest of growers to modify the law to clarify the gift of up to one ounce of cannabis to another adult concerns only dry cannabis and add that the another adult can give up 12 cuttings at a time.

In 2016 the state of Colorado changed how possession limits of cannabis and cannabis equivalents are defined. Since Ballot Initiative 71 did not address the possession of edibles or concentrates, we believe the District of Columbia should follow Colorado’s lead in re-define weights and equivalents. Currently in Colorado, one ounce of cannabis flower is equivalent to 8 grams of cannabis concentrate and 800 milligrams of edibles.

We believe that cannabis consumers would benefit from the ability to purchase live plants at any location dry cannabis is currently sold, including farmer’s markets. Transportation of a live plant would be exempted from the official weight count and the receipt the purchasers has in their possession after making the purchase would provide the adult a limited time to transport the live plant from the site of purchase to their home. We believe a 24 hour window is adequate for an adult to take the newly purchased plant home.

As more adults grow cannabis at their homes, a strain is placed on the District’s electrical grid. One of the easiest ways a grower can save money while helping the environment is to grow their cannabis using natural sunlight. We believe that the cannabis plant belongs outdoors and the more regulations and restrictions that are placed on the plant, the more people believe that the plant should be coveted. No one cares about tobacco or hops plants people grow outdoors in DC, and the same should be said for the cannabis plant. If someone wants to grow their plants in the back yard, so be it, but the current law forbids this. We request that minor changes are made to the law so that it’s silent on whether the plant can be grown indoors or outdoors.

It has been shown in other jurisdictions that when the government places high taxes on cannabis, the cannabis is diverted to the illicit market. The best way to ensure this does not happen in the District of Columbia is to keep the taxes low throughout the entire supply chain. We believe that a 10% sales tax for consumers should be maintained because it falls in line with the current sales tax for alcohol. However, sales tax collected between the grower, processor, and seller should be minimal because this is where the cannabis is most likely to be diverted. A minimal 1% sales tax on bulk sales to processors and dispensaries would ensure cannabis makes its way to the consumer without the cannabis becoming too expensive. By collecting license fees from the cultivators, processors, and dispensaries plus a small tax on transactions prior to the consumer’s final purchase, the DC government will ensure more cannabis is sold within licensed businesses. Moreover, we believe the tax on medical cannabis should be eliminated entirely. There is no other medicine in the District of Columbia that the government taxes. The $100 patient registration fee is direct tax on medical cannabis patients. They should not be forced to pay more for their medicine than other adults. In order to implement this, a dispensary would simply have to enter the patient’s ID number at the point of sale.

With cannabis still a Schedule I substance in the eyes of the federal government, there is a reluctance for commercial banks to develop relationships with cannabis businesses. In order to provide financial safety and security to the District’s licensed cannabis businesses, we believe there should be a public banking option available. Businesses that deal only in cash are a bigger target for nefarious elements of our society and by providing a public banking option, the District government can ensure the timely collection of taxes.

We do not believe there should be there should be any jail time related to infractions concerning cannabis. The District of Columbia used to arrest nearly 1% of the population each year for cannabis and the net result was many destroyed lives. Jail time is not the best way to address infractions to cannabis laws, rather we believe fines and community service are a better deterrent than jail time. Jail time costs society and the District government more in resources than fines and community service.

As old laws change, the non-cannabis consuming or growing community is not always kept abreast of the changes. DCMJ would like to assist in having town hall meetings in all 8 Wards of the District of Columbia so that citizens throughout Washington will be able to contribute their input to the legislation.

DCMJ 2018 Voter Guide

Near the end of last week’s DCMJ Planning Meeting #14, it was suggested that since we aren’t meeting until the day after the November 6 midterm election, DCMJ community should put forward local candidate recommendations for DC voters.

For each of the offices that DC voters will choosing to elect either the incumbent or a challenger, we asked everyone at the meeting to put their thumbs up (endorse – vote for them!), thumbs sideways (neutral), or thumbs down (don’t vote for them). For some candidates there was no consensus, while other candidates DCMJ members were unanimous.

Below are the results:

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton – THUMBS UP

With her leadership on cannabis reform in Congress, specifically her introduction of H.R. 6152, the “Sondra Battle Cannabis Fair Use Act” last summer, there was consensus that DC voters should re-elect Congresswoman Norton.


While many in the room support her recent effort to stop police from arresting people for public consumption of cannabis, they were unhappy that she has allowed Police Chief Newsham to continue to go after popups. There was no consensus to give her thumbs up or thumbs down, so she received a thumbs sideways.

Chairman Phil Mendelson – THUMBS DOWN

Everyone in the room gave DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson a thumbs down due to his past decisions on making public consumption of cannabis a crime instead of a civil penalty and for supporting the ban on social clubs. On the ballot, voters can choose the Libertarian Party’s Ethan Bishop-Henchman instead of Mendelson. Everyone at the DCMJ meeting was aware that he’ll likely be re-elected. That doesn’t mean cannabis activists should not stopping pressuring the Chairman to listen to cannabis users when setting public policy. There will likely be more cannabis reform legislation before the DC Council in the next two years, and the DCMJ community will need to continue to be open to working with the powerful Chairman to ensure we get the fair laws.

At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman – THUMBS UP

DC voters have the opportunity to vote for TWO At-Large Councilmembers, not just one. While there are 6 different candidates running for the At-Large Councilmember positions, there was only consensus around incumbent Elissa Silverman. It was felt that she was a consistent independent voice on the DC Council and continues to support cannabis reform. If you vote just for her, your vote will be weighted more heavily than if you vote for her and another candidate. There was a lot of discussion about endorsing incumbent Anita Bonds but her flip-flop on the social club vote, showed us that she is indifferent to cannabis reform and not worthy of DCMJ member’s endorsement.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau – THUMBS UP

If you live in Ward 1, you will be able to vote for Councilmember Nadeau. She has been a long-time advocate for cannabis reform (even attending one of the DC Cannabis Campaign’s first fundraisers!) and her past votes showed us that she will continue to support cannabis reform.

Ward 3 Councilmember Cheh – THUMBS SIDEWAYS

If you live in Ward 3, you will be able to vote for either Councilmember Mary Cheh or independent candidate Petar Dimchev. Based on the Ward 3 voters at the meeting, we could not come to a consensus on supporting Mary Cheh, so she has received a Thumbs Sideways.

Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie – THUMBS DOWN

If you live in Ward 5, you will have the option of choosing 1 of 4 candidates. Based on the Ward 5 voters at the meeting, they were unanimous in their position that voters should NOT vote for incumbent Councilmember McDuffie. Moreover, DCMJ members also suggested that Ward 5 voters should also NOT vote for Kathy Henderson. McDuffie and Henderson have long records of being against common sense cannabis reform, so voters should consider voting for either Joyce Robinson Paul or Amone Banks.

Ward 6 Councilmember Allen – THUMBS UP

If you live in Ward 6, you have the option voting for Republican Michael Bekeska or incumbent Democrat Charles Allen. The consensus of the DCMJ members at last week’s meeting was to support incumbent Charles Allen.

Attorney General Karl Racine – THUMBS UP

Based on his support for Initiative #71 and his continued support for cannabis reform, DCMJ members were in consensus for keeping AG Racine in office.

Shadow Senator Michael Brown – THUMBS UP

Based on his support for Initiative #7q and his continued support for cannabis reform, DCMJ members were in consensus for keeping Shadow Rep. Brown in office in order to continue to lobby for DC Statehood.

Shadow Representative Franklin Garcia – THUMBS UP

Based on his support for Initiative #71 and his continued support for cannabis reform, DCMJ members were in consensus for keeping Shadow Rep. Garcia in office in order to continue to lobby for DC Statehood.


If you are not registered to vote, DC has same day voter registration, so you’ll be able to vote on election day. Click here to find your polling place. You should have received the DC  voter guide in the mail, but we hope the guide above is helpful in choosing the candidates who support cannabis reform.

If you want to get involved in any local campaigns, click here to download the DCBOE candidate list, which has the contact information for all the campaigns.

If want to help get Rep. Andy Harris out of office in the 1st District of Maryland, there will be a caravan leaving DC on Monday, November 5 to ensure DCMJ members are able to work the polls on the Eastern Shore of Maryland bright & early on election day. Please email to get involved!

PRESS RELEASE: RachelRamone Donlan Files Civil Case Against Rep. Andy Harris For Slamming Door On Her

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671

RachelRamone Donlan Files Civil Case Against Rep. Andy Harris For Slamming Door On Her

Lawsuit Seeks $10,420 in Damages

WASHINGTON, DC – Today cannabis reform advocate and DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”) volunteer, RachelRamone Donlan, filed a civil complaint in Form 95 against Congressman Andy Harris for his violent actions against her on October 2, 2018. In her Form 95, Ms. Donlan outlines that Rep. Harris’ untoward behavior bruised her leg and the ensuing incorrect press reports tarnished her reputation as a non-violent advocate for the reform of cannabis laws.  Ms. Donlan civil lawsuit seeks $10,420 in damage for the pain and suffering caused by Rep. Harris.

Background on the Incident Triggering Ms. Donlan’s Case

At an August 10, 2018 town hall meeting in Salisbury, Maryland, Rep. Harris gave a pledge to Ms. RachelRamone Donlan to have a meeting concerning medical marijuana.  When she saw him walking down the hallway towards his Capitol Hill office on October 2, she believed he was going to finally talk to her. As Ms. Donlan tries to speak to Rep. Harris, not touching him or yelling at him, she rushes to follow him into his public office not knowing he was entering through a private side door about 15 feet away from the actual main public entrance that was open at the time. Instead of welcoming her or saying use the other entrance to anyone present, he quickly slammed the door in her face, and physically hurt her leg and knee.  Ms. Donlan, who is disabled, weighs about 90 lbs, and suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes her intense physical pain.  She has been consuming medical marijuana since 2011 for pain relief and as a result is opioid-free.

“I was trying to speak to the Congressman about how cannabis saved my life,” said Ms. Donlan, “but instead of pausing to listen, he slammed the door on my leg and knee.” Ms. Donlan proceeded to stage an “overdose” outside of Rep. Harris’ office and in order to deal with the physical pain caused by the congressman and his staff, she lit up a cannabis “joint” and was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police for consumption of marijuana after about 1 hour on the floor.  During that period Congressman Harris released a statement to the press alleging violence had been done to him and the following day he released a second statement on his congressional website. “Congressman Harris would rather people take pills than utilize the healing properties of cannabis,” concludes Ms.  Donlan, who wrote an “apology,” to Congressman Harris and continued to seek dialogue with him before making this decision to file the formal complaint.

For over four years cannabis reform advocates have sought meetings with Rep. Harris and for four years he’s been evasive, misleading, and outright hostile to cannabis reform advocates. The October 2 incident only showed how far out of his way Rep. Harris would go to avoid civilized debate: he hid in his office like a coward. Twenty minutes later Rep. Harris came outside of his office with the U.S. Capitol Police, he couldn’t even identify the person who allegedly assaulted him.  He did recognize Adam Eidinger, a constituent that moved to Salisbury after Harris inserted legislation in the DC Budget preventing lawmaking authority to DC elected officials on matters relating to cannabis reform. Rep. Harris claim he hurt his wrist slamming the door on Rachel is an attempt to spin his cowardice to address cannabis reformers. Harris describes political violence that didn’t occur in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, but Rep. Harris’ negligent action of slamming his office door on Ms. Donlan resulted in bruising to her leg and knee was the only violence that day.