4/20 In Washington


The perfectly named Carol Joynt celebrates the joy of marijuana on today's festive occasion in her city – and mine – of DC. It may not be Portland, but Prohibition hasn't worked here just as it hasn't worked anywhere else. In fact, DC may be one of the least noticed 4/20 cities in America, right under the Christianist Congressional noses. But that, of course, is the rub. Living in a city which remains a colony run by white men from rural states, a city where there is less democracy than in Baghdad, means that self-government in such matters is regarded as anathema. Nonetheless, we did finally pass a medical marijuana law that should come into effect in August.

But because the City Council is so terrified of their colonial Congressional masters, the law will be so restrictive almost no one will be able to participate – it's almost a reverse parody of what has happened in, say, Colorado. The hypocrisy, cant and thuggery is thick even by Washington standards, as this Washingtonian cover-story revealed. And small businesses that simply sell hemp products and water pipes and other paraphernalia – like the profitable, job-creating Capitol Hemp stores – have been brutally raided by thuggish cops and now forced now into extinction. They sold no pot. You can read an interview with the owners by Carol here.

I became friends with the owners and regard the raids as an outrage. And the medical marijuana law seems to have been pre-emptively sabotaged by the DC City Council and their cowardice. Adam Eidenger notes:

The distributors who get licenses from the city are going to fail. I hope I'm wrong. But the economics of this city and the limitations on quantity and the absurd fees are setting it up to fail. The license fees are three times what they charge for liquor licenses.

Part of this is pure racism, part cowardice from our elected city leaders, and part pure irrationalism, like the entire anti-marijuana apparatus, now essentially a way to target minorities for arrest as in Bloomberg's New York City.

I know I sound cranky on this. But I believe in personal liberty and I believe the sick should not be prevented from trying anything they want to make themselves better. These things are not worth giggling about. They are worth fighting for. I watched a generation of my peers die who desperately needed relief from nausea and couldn't get it. And all of this – all of it – is driven by pure fear and hatred of the idea of anyone else actually bypassing the pharmaceutical lobby, reducing liquor sales, or even, God forbid, enjoying an evening at home.

We need a new vote on total legalization in the district. And we need to take the Puritans in the Congress face on.