By Chris Spencer
For The Diamondback
Cannabis advocacy group DCMJ tried sending a message to the White House earlier this month regarding its views on cannabis rights — with about 200 people carrying a 51-foot inflatable joint along the streets.
On April 2 — 4/2, a nod to 4/20 — DCMJ launched the "Reschedule 4/20" event, with a goal of urging President Obama to lessen cannabis-related penalties in the country. Several protesters who attended plan to return Saturday to advocate again.
"The mission is to be an advocacy organization — a community organization really — that advances laws that are friendly to marijuana users and their families," said event organizer and DCMJ founder Adam Eidinger. "We are tired of the stigma associated to marijuana use."
Kenneth Sharp, a third-year biochemistry graduate student and member of this university's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, attended the protest and said he plans to go back Saturday.
"At 4:20 pm, everyone started smoking, but the officers don't care," Sharp said. "One hundred, 200 [people] were there and at least a quarter were smoking."
DCMJ has expressed disapproval of Obama's efforts in ending the war on drugs, which has been going on for about 45 years. Eidinger said there need to be more pardons of marijuana offenders, and that marijuana should not be considered a Schedule I drug, a category deemed to have no medical properties and considered illegal by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"We don't think the president has done a really good job," Eidinger said.
The organization posted to its Facebook page that it was "rescheduling 4/20 this year to 4/2 because Obama's been a BIG ZER0 on cannabis reform," it read. "President Obama has the power to use his authority to reschedule cannabis. But recent reports have shown that he has no plans to change the status quo and, frankly, that is just pitiful."
On Saturday, the organization will hold the White House Seed Share & Cannabis Summit outside like the other protest, but this time it requests that all protesters exchange cannabis seeds and buds legally.
"Adults can legally carry up to 2 ounces of cannabis and give it away to other adults without fear of arrest," DCMJ said in a statement. "The White House Seed Share & Cannabis Summit will start AFTER 4:20pm because we want this to be a fully legal event without any on-site consumption of cannabis."
"I feel like the war on drugs, specifically Schedule I drugs like marijuana, is doing more harm than good," Sharp said.
Zakioiah Wada, a sophomore microbiology major, said marijuana should be legal, whether for medical or recreational purposes.
"Because I am a pre-med major, I am more interested in the medical properties of marijuana — and we can help people with seizures, maybe cure depression," Wada said. "I don't have a problem with it being used for recreation as long as it is regulated."