Statement on Attorney General Sessions

DCMJ Urges President Trump to Stop Sessions from Reversing Course of Legalization

WASHINGTON, DC — Legalization advocates DCMJ, the organization that spearheaded Initiative 71 that legalized cannabis in the District of Columbia, issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the Senate confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. Attorney General.

Adam Eidinger, co-founder DCMJ stated:

“Despite all the damning evidence brought against him, the Senate today rubber-stamped colleague Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General in the Trump Administration. Sessions is a failed war on drugs zealot who has gone so far as to suggest that marijuana offenders deserve the death penalty. To say he is out of touch with the legalization wave rolling through the United States would be an understatement. Sessions is a threat to states rights, the will of the voters and the legalization movement as a whole.

“Conversely, President Trump is on-the-record with his support for states rights and medical marijuana, promising a hands-off federal approach to states with legalization laws enacted. We are hopeful that the commander-in-chief, along with leaders from law enforcement, the civil rights community and cannabis activists, will take the opportunity to help enlighten Sessions on responsible drug policy reforms.”

Nikolas Schiller, DCMJ co-founder, added:

“Senator Sessions statements earlier this year are quite clear: it is up to Congress to pass legislation that absolves him of the responsibility of turning a blind eye towards cannabis. The silver lining is that if President Trump keeps his campaign promises, Sessions will judiciously use taxpayer dollars on the Federal enforcement of cannabis similar to the previous administration. I urge Congress to take up legislation that will allow the new Attorney General to focus his time on more important issues facing the American people.

“But if President Trump wants to take cash out of the hands of international drug cartels and create millions of tax-paying jobs, then America’s cannabis community is a willing partner. If President Trump wants to overhaul healthcare and help veterans, America’s medical cannabis community is also a willing partner. Partnerships make America great, but until cannabis is fully legalized, the full potential of America is not being achieved.

“Looking at the 2016 Election and the eight states that passed new responsible marijuana measures in November, an interesting political trend reveals itself: cannabis polls high across party lines—independents, Libertarians, Green Party, Republicans and Democrats. The evidence of this can be seen in the 28 states and the District of Columbia that have already enacted sensible drug policy reforms. Americans are now looking to the President and Congress to change the laws nationally and replace them with more common sense approaches towards cannabis. You don’t have to be a farmer or a political scientist to realize that Americans want President Trump and Congress to act now.”

Please email with any follow-up questions.


Do not let Senator Sessions undo the work we've done!

Now for some good news: On Election Day nearly all of the cannabis-related ballot initiatives passed! (Sorry Arizona, you got outspent!) The number of Americans living in states with legal cannabis grew from roughly 17 million to over 67 million & counting. Before the election President Obama said “that is not gonna be tenable” for such a large number of Americans to live under one set of cannabis laws and others live under a different set laws. The time is ripe for Congress to pass legislation that will end the government’s harassment and arrests of peaceful cannabis users and their families!

Now for the bad news: Donald Trump has tapped one of the biggest prohibitionists in Congress to be the Attorney General of the United States: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Earlier this year the Alabama Senator said “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and while we don’t know yet if he’ll respect states rights (or DC’s rights since we are not a state) or if he’ll do what John Ashcroft did as George W. Bush’s Attorney General: raid lawful cannabis grows, raid lawful dispensaries, and even go so far as crack down on paraphernalia vendors. Let’s not forget why Tommy Chong went to jail and why history may repeat itself if we don’t act NOW!

We can’t idly sit by and watch all the hard work we’ve done to legalize cannabis in DC be eroded by an out of touch prohibitionist!

We are calling for a series of demonstrations against Jeff Sessions between NOW and January 20, 2017.


Our first #SmokeSessions will be at his Congressional Office ( 326 Russell Senate Office Building ) Monday, November 28, at HIGH NOON!

ROLL CALL: Pot Advocates Protest Jeff Sessions’ AG Nomination
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Pot Activists Get Jeff Sessions Staff Meeting After Insinuating They Would Stage Office Smoke-in


Join us Thursday, December 8 for #ShowSessions

Our second #SmokeSessions was called #ShowSessions and took place at High Noon on Thursday, December 8.

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Activists Roll Joint, Offer Free Pot at Jeff Sessions Office as Threats Swirl to Legalization Framework
WASHINGTON TIMES: Legal weed advocates sneak marijuana into Jeff Sessions’ Senate office

#ShowSessions on Capitol Hill, Dec 08 2016 from Mike Flugennock

Our third #SmokeSessions will be at 8AM, Tuesday, January 3, 2017 outside Union Station. We’ll greet Senate staffers, interns, and members of Congress on their way to their first day in the 115th Congress. At 9:30am we’ll visit Senate offices and drop off suggested questions for Sessions’ confirmation hearing. Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

Our fourth #SmokeSessions will be at the Senate Judiciary Confirmation Hearing for Senator Sessions on Tuesday, January 10 and Wednesday, January 11. DCMJ is seeking volunteers to line sit outside the hearing room. Please fill out this Google Doc if you can help! You can also RSVP on Facebook for SmokeSessions #4 (aka HearSessions), but please note, an RSVP on Facebook does not get you inside the hearing room. The number of seats we get inside the hearing room is contingent on the number of line sitters who volunteer!

Our fifth #SmokeSessions will be at the Inauguration on January 20, 2017.

• We demand the President-Elect Trump make a clear and unequivocal statement that he supports the full-legalization of cannabis in every State. And to urge the 115th Congress to pass legislation that removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act within the first 100 days.

• Second, we demand Senator Sessions evolve on his position that cannabis users are not only good people, but they deserve the same treatment under the law as alcohol users, prescription drug users, and non-users.

• Third, we demand Senator Sessions allow the various States and the District of Columbia the authority to make their own laws concerning cannabis without Federal government intervention.

• Fourth, we demand Senator Sessions investigate the racial disparities of federal minimum sentencing guidelines and the associated costs to the American taxpayers for maintaining the largest prison system in the world.

Our demands call for a respect for personal liberty, States rights, and good governance.

Please help us out and spread the word by using the hashtag #SmokeSessions and inviting your friends to the upcoming demonstrations!

Press Release: The DC Cannabis Campaign Prepares to Fight for Ballot Access

February 24, 2014

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

The DC Cannabis Campaign Prepares to Fight for Ballot Access

Attorney General’s Analysis Won’t Hold Up in Court

WASHINGTON, DC – On February 25, 2014, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) will hold an administrative hearing on whether the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative is fit to go before voters this November. Last week, DC Attorney General Irv Nathan released his analysis of the proposed ballot initiative and stated that his office was against the proposed legislation because he claims it violates federal law concerning the District’s ability to enforce federal housing laws. While the Attorney General’s opinion is not legally binding, if the DCBOEE sides with him, the DC Cannabis Campaign is prepared to take the DCBOEE to court to ensure voters have the opportunity to decide on this important matter November 4.

“The Attorney General’s legal analysis is just one legal theory designed to silence the will of the voters by attempting to throw out our ballot initiative,” says Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign.

“Under the proposed initiative, the District would be free to use the lease required by federal law and evict tenants who violate the terms of the lease, as well as regulate conduct made lawful by the initiative on property that it owns,” wrote attorney Joseph Sandler. “For that reason, there is absolutely no conflict between federal law and the proposed initiative.”

If the DCBOEE sides with the DC Cannabis Campaign and allows the ballot initiative to go forward, the DCBOEE will issue petitions for registered DC voters to sign. The Campaign will need to collect valid signatures from five percent of registered voters in DC, which amounts to nearly 24,000 valid signatures. In order to for the initiative to be put on the November general election ballot, the Campaign must submit the signatures by July 7.

“If the Board of Elections delays the initiative language approval, we’ll be forced to have a special election, which will cost the DC government nearly $1 million,” says Eidinger. “We’d much rather save the DC government the expense by allowing voters to decide the marijuana question during the general election.”

The DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative will permit District residents 21 and older to cultivate marijuana in their homes and allow residents to keep the marijuana grown at home for their personal use. The initiative does not permit the consumption of marijuana in public nor does it allow District residents to sell the marijuana they’ve grown. Furthermore, the initiative does not create a “Tax & Regulate” system similar to the successful ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington. The District’s Home Rule Charter does not allow District residents to create any taxing authority through the ballot box, but it does allow District residents to expand freedoms.

“Poll after poll has shown DC residents support legal marijuana. The DCBOEE should empower citizens to vote on this important issue,” concludes Eidinger.

Full text of the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative can be viewed at


2014 Marijuana Legalization Initiative–Legal Analysis 2-19-14 (1)

DCMJ Letter to Ken McGhie 2 21 14 SENT

Reason: DC City Council Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana For “Social Justice,” Not Interested in Legalizing, May Be on the Ballot Anyway

By Ed Krayewski | Sep. 5, 2013 1:43 pm

The city council in Washington, DC is considering a bill, cosponsored by a majority of the council, that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana up to an ounce, making it a “civil offense” resulting in a fine, according to the local NBC affiliate. The primary sponsor of the bill, Tommy Wells, says the bill is a matter of “social justice,” and that he’s not concerned with the legal status of marijuana insomuch as he’s concerned about the 6,000 people, predominantly African-American, that are arrested for “using small amounts of marijuana.”

Activists are pressing for full legalization, pointing out that decriminalization will just cause the black market to expand even more, since everything that makes the possession of a small amount of marijuana possible remains illegal. But Councilman Wells says he doesn’t “believe growing marijuana in your home is really an issue of social justice… I’m not sure that our city is ready to do that.” Wells is right, growing marijuana in your own home is not a “social justice” issue. It’s an issue of rights and freedoms.

Wells’ frankly half-assed attempt at liberalizing the legal regime surrounding marijuana isn’t likely to even meet the narrow goal Wells set out. 91 percent of marijuana arrests in DC may be of black residents, but plenty of Beltway professionals use pot too. They just don’t need decriminalization to stay off the radar of local law enforcement, which largely targets black residents in its drug war efforts (similar tactics are seen in New York City, where whites are more likely to use marijuana but non-whites are more likely to be arrested for it). Wells’ effort isn’t going to make it less likely local law enforcement continues to target predominantly young black men for possession of marijuana. As criminal attorney Paul Zukerberg pointed out to NBC Washington: “Any amount of marijuana, even a roach, a partially burnt marijuana cigarette, is a criminal misdemeanor… Means you get arrested, your name is entered into the national criminal database, you have to go to court, hire a lawyer, and you face jail time. These are things that are permanently on your record… when you’re looking to get a job.”

While Wells’ bill is expected to pass and become law sometime in 2014, activists are working on a measure that would see DC residents vote on legalization in the November 2014 election. “People don’t want to be harassed anymore,” one activist, Adam Eidinger of DCMJ 2014, told NBC Washington. “People want rights.” And whatever pretension to “social justice” the DC city council may have is no replacement for that.

Source: Reason

NBC Washington: Activists to Submit New Marijuana Legalization Proposal

Click here to watch the video

By Mark Segraves | Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013 | Updated 7:20 PM EDT

While the D.C. Council considers decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, a group of activists wants to legalize it and they want D.C. voters to decide.

The majority of D.C. councilmembers have signed on to a bill that would make having less than an ounce of marijuana a civil offense that results in a fine — like a speeding ticket — but some activists say that’s not enough. They want to be able to grow their own pot, and they don’t want police to have any authority over it.

“People don’t want to be harassed anymore,” said Adam Eidinger, of DCMJ 2014. “People want rights.”

Supporters of legalizing marijuana appeared before the D.C. Board of Elections Wednesday to get legalization on the November 2014 ballot for voters to decide.

D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, who wrote the decriminalization legislation, said his bill isn’t as much about pot as it is the 6,000 people who are getting arrested for it each year.

“About 90 percent of those that are arrested in the District of Columbia for using small amounts of marijuana are African-American,” he said. “We have an issue of social justice and also an issue of overuse of our courts, overuse of our whole justice system and police.”

Decriminalizing pot will lead to confusion, Eidinger said.

“People think it’s legal, though it’s not, and the black market is just going to keep having more customers, I think, because no one is growing it for themselves, and growing it will still be an arrest-able offense,” he said.

He’s concerned the legislation the council is considering will open the door to police harassing young people at concerts and other events.

“I don’t believe growing marijuana in your home is really an issue of social justice, that’s more about legalizing the substance, and I’m not sure that our city is ready to do that,” Wells said.

“Any amount of marijuana, even a roach, a partially burnt marijuana cigarette, is a criminal misdemeanor,” criminal defense attorney Paul Zukerberg said. “Means you get arrested, your name is entered into the national criminal database, you have to go to court, hire a lawyer, and you face jail time. These are things that are permanently on your record so when you’re looking to get a job.”

“It’s a barrier to getting jobs,” Wells said. “Sometimes it’s a barrier to housing, a barrier to getting student loans.”

DCMJ proposed making possession of less than two ounces or growing up to three plants civil rather than criminal offenses, punishable by fines up to $100 assessed by alcohol regulation authorities, prohibiting police from arresting or detaining those in violation in most circumstances.

Attorney General Irv Nathan found a provision requiring offenders under the age of 18 to attend a drug awareness program violates a city restriction preventing ballot items from appropriating taxpayer funds, The Washington Post reported. He also said adding marijuana offenders to the groups protected by D.C.’s Human Rights Act could be a financial liability for the city and possession would remain illegal under federal law and he is unaware of a statute allowing the council to prevent police from arresting individuals in violation of federal law.

So DCMJ pulled the proposal and will submit a new one, possibly this week, Eidinger said.

The bill to decriminalize marijuana is expected to pass the council later this year and could be law by early 2014 – about the same time voters could be asked if smoking pot should be legal in the nation’s capital.

Source: NBC Washington

Washingtonian: Pro-Marijuana Activists Prepare Ballot Referendum to Legalize It in DC

Pro-Marijuana Activists Prepare Ballot Referendum to Legalize It in DC

The DC Council is set to begin debating marijuana decriminalization, but some advocates want the city to go all the way and make it legal to grow and smoke.

By Benjamin Freed, Washingtonian

A proposed ballot referendum that would have sought to decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana in DC is off the table, but one of the lead organizers behind it says that’s just fine, because he plans to replace it with one that calls for legalization.

Adam Eidinger, a pro-pot activist who ran the now-shuttered Capitol Hemp stores, withdrew his decriminalization referendum today at a meeting of DC’s Board of Elections. He pulled it following a letter from DC Attorney General Irv Nathan, who wrote up several objections to the ballot initiative. But Eidinger says that Nathan’s objections were more procedural than political, and that in a few weeks’ time, he’ll submit a new referendum that calls for legalizing weed. Decriminalization, he says, was more of a test bubble.

Chiefly, Eidinger says, his original referendum raised an issue in calling for the creation of a drug awareness program to ward off underage residents from getting high. Under DC law, ballot referendums must be revenue-neutral, meaning that they cannot demand the DC Council create and fund any new programs. Despite the noble intention, though, Eidinger says that’s not a deal breaker.

“You can’t write a law that’s going to cost the taxpayers money,” he says. “We can reach our goals without that in there. But our top priority wasn’t to create that program, it was to make the voters feel more comfortable.”

Eidinger says his legalization referendum will still define to whom it would apply. The next initiative will spell out several specific rules about marijuana use, including:

  • Restricting use by people under 21
  • Allowing adults to carry up to two ounces
  • Permitting home cultivation—which Eidinger equates with people who brew their own beer—of up to six plants

Eidinger is especially passionate about that last bit, saying that that a prohibition on people growing their own weed opens up the landscape for a “monopoly.”

“People who grow their own cannabis are patriots,” he says. “They don’t give their money to terrorist organizations or international drug cartels. There’s no money going to a drug dealer.”

A legalization referendum would also go much further than a piece of legislation the DC Council is about to take up. Council member Tommy Wells, who is also running for mayor, plans to introduce a decriminalization bill this fall along with Marion Barry. Under Wells and Barry’s bill, which has at least six co-sponsors—more than enough to pass—marijuana possession would be reduced from a criminal offense to one meriting just a ticket with a fine.

Eidinger says simple decriminalization would only encourage police to write flurries of tickets. He envisions “raids” in which officers inspect bars and nightclubs to see which patrons are holding and issue a thick pad of fines. Under current law, people caught with pot are arrested and booked, a greater drain on police resources.

“It’s going to become a shakedown law,” Eidinger says.

But marijuana arrests are on the rise in DC anyway, according to Metropolitan Police Department figures obtained earlier this year by Paul Zukerberg, a defense attorney who ran for a DC Council seat on a pro-legalization platform. In 2011, the statistics read, MPD made 5,759 marijuana-related busts. And the American Civil Liberties Union found that in 2010, DC police arrested black individuals for marijuana-related offenses 8.05 times as often as white people.

Wells, though, is not convinced that his bill would lead to a wider regime of weed fines. “What I’m doing is decriminalizing the behavior so that we don’t have so many young men getting in trouble,” he says. “Mine is more about social justice. [Eidinger’s] is more about treating the substance as a legal substance. That’s not a social justice issue, that’s about getting a new product into the mainstream that’ll get you high.”

The DC decriminalization bill is modeled a Massachusetts law that went into effect in 2009. Last week, the US Justice Department, which still classifies marijuana as a dangerous illegal substance, said it will not interfere with state and local laws that decriminalize or legalize pot for either medicinal or recreational purposes. The move was a reassurance to DC’s burgeoning medical marijuana field.

Wells and Barry will hold their first public hearing on their decriminalization bill in early October. Meanwhile, Eidinger says he is furiously gathering volunteers—many of them exiting DC Superior Court following marijuana offense hearings—to gather signatures for the final draft of his referendum. He aims to get it on next year’s general election ballot.

Source: Washingtonian