The White House has finally opened its door to cannabis advocates. The law reform group DC Marijuana Justice (DCMJ) was recently invited by White House officials for a meeting in regards to the government’s policy on marijuana, the Washington Times reports.
During the meeting, DCMJ’s mission was to discuss the federal de-scheduling of cannabis, which is currently considered Schedule I under the Controlled Substance Act. Under the classification, marijuana is defined as having no accepted medical uses while carrying potentially dangerous side-effects.
“This is a good first step, but we hope to continue the dialogue with the White House,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ, in an email to Cannabis Now. “We thanked the White House for extending the invitation, but it is clear that our work is far from finished. This is only the start.”
Although the historic meeting took place in a conference room adjacent to the White House, President Barack Obama was not in attendance, but rather two junior-level staffers from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“They didn’t say a lot; they took notes, maybe four pages’ worth,” Eidinger told the Post. “We asked questions, but they didn’t answer… They nodded a lot. I think they understood us.”
“The meeting was a move in the right direction, but there are many voices to be heard that can address a myriad of issues, including but not limited to the excessive incarceration rate for black and Hispanic non-violent cannabis users and compassionate care for veterans and others, who need medical marijuana to alleviate their pain and suffering,” Eidinger added.
The meeting was granted as a result of a massive smoke-in demonstration that took place April 2 in front of the White House itself, where protesters passed around an enormous 51-foot balloon in the shape of a rolled joint while demanding the federal reclassification of marijuana.
“Due to popular demand, we’re rescheduling 420 this year to 4/2 because Obama’s been a BIG ZERO on cannabis reform,” said the event fliers.
Despite the significance of the meeting, an official statement from an administration spokesperson bore a decidedly less enthusiastic tone.
“Over the years, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has met with numerous organizations representing varied perspectives on drug policy. As laid out in the National Drug Control Strategy, the administration’s drug policy continues to focus on a balanced public health and public safety approach to reduce drug use and its consequences.”
After the brief meeting, DCMJ founders Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller were seen outside the White House waving a banner that read, “President Obama, We need a higher level meeting.”
But what more could they talk about?
“What we are requesting is a higher level meeting with senior administration officials, ultimately moving toward a cannabis policy reform summit with President Obama and key stakeholders such as patients, patient advocates, business owners, grassroots advocates, the disabled community, scientists, the medical community, veterans and others,” said Eidinger.
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