The District of Columbia’s number one pot activist threatened the city council with term limits if it votes to enact tougher restrictions on public consumption.
Adam Eidinger, the man who spearheaded D.C.’s initiative to legalize marijuana, told D.C. Council members Thursday if they vote yes for a bill to extend a ban on public marijuana consumption, he will organize a ballot initiative to limit their time in office.
“When the DC Council fails to act, I will. It’s not too late for [The D.C. Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) campaign] to bring ballot initiatives,” he said during the Judiciary Committee hearing.
While the bill, “The Marijuana Decriminalization Clarification Amendment Act,” is just the permanent version of an identical law previously enacted through emergency legislation, Eidinger and other marijuana activists say the bill does more than just clarify.
Marijuana use is already forbidden in public spaces, but the clarification act also outlaws use in “private clubs.” (RELATED: You Can Now Buy A Bong From The Guy Who Legalized Weed In DC)
A private club is defined as “any building, facility, or premise used or operated by an organization or association for a common avocational purpose, such as a fraternal, social, educational or recreational purpose.”
In essence, any private business is considered a public place under the clarification act. If no action is taken, the temporary law is set to expire Jan. 15, 2016. And that is exactly what activists want to see.
Eidinger says the law is setting up unnecessary security confrontations at clubs where bouncers are forced to enforce marijuana bans, and putting people in danger at unregulated private parties.
“You’ve created cannabis clubs by trying to ban clubs,” he says. “If adults want to consume cannabis, they’re going to consume cannabis.”
Some of these private parties, activists argue, put people in danger because there are no proper regulations on occupancy levels or ventilation systems.
Kate Bell, director of the DCMJ, suggests the council should clarify which private events and locations are permitted and banned from using pot, otherwise the bill simply bans marijuana consumption outside a person’s home.
“Their alternative is to go out into the streets, where they risk arrest,” she says.
Eidinger says the council’s plan to further regulate the use of marijuana is “disrespectful of the people” who voted in favor of legalization.
“Who is asking for this besides the mayor?” he asks. “No one is here to testify in favor of this today.”
Should the law pass, Eidinger says he will use his expertise to launch another ballot initiative that would see marijuana treated with the same regulations as cigarettes.
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