Pubdate: Tue, 26 Apr 2016
Source: Call, The (Woonsocket, RI)
Copyright: 2016 The Call.
Author: Aaron C. Davis, the Washington Post


Pot Advocates Find High Hopes Dashed at White House

WASHINGTON - It took a pot-smoking protest outside the White House, 
but on Monday, advocates for marijuana legalization were set for a 
historic face-to-face meeting with the Obama administration about 
easing laws governing the drug. Except, it wasn't. Leaders of the 
successful ballot measure fight that legalized marijuana in the 
nation's capital said they were granted a White House meeting, but it 
was with two junior-level staffers in Obama's Office of National Drug 
Control Policy.

There was no presidential entourage, no promises of more meetings to 
come. In fact, there was no visit to the White House proper, but a 
mostly empty conference room in an adjacent building.

"They didn't say a lot, they took notes, maybe four pages worth," 
said Adam Eidinger, the face of the D.C. marijuana movement, who 
dressed up for the visit in a black suit with a black-and-green 
marijuana leaf tie. "We asked questions, but they didn't answer. ... 
They nodded a lot. I think they understood us."

President Barack Obama said in January that reforming marijuana laws 
is not on his agenda in his final year in office.

But activists' hopes have been raised by a combination of factors: 
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made legalizing pot a plank of his 
surprisingly successful run for the Democratic presidential 
nomination. Meanwhile, a petition by Democratic governors has led the 
Drug Enforcement Agency to say it will decide by July whether to 
remove marijuana from the nation's list of most dangerous drugs.

Eidinger and other activists said they hoped Monday's meeting might 
begin a conversation about marijuana reform that could provide cover 
to likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to continue 
work should she win the election in November.

Eidinger also tried to guilt and embarrass Obama into action.

Fliers announcing the mass pot-smoking event outside the White House 
said the event was held not on April 20, the typical national day of 
action over marijuana policy, but earlier because of the president.
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