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D.C. Police Arrest Marijuana Activists in Front of U.S. Capitol

Updated on April 27, 2017

D.C. Police Arrest Activists For Smoking Marijuana

Four marijuana activists were arrested in April 2017 in front of the U.S. Capitol after calling on Congress to decriminalize consumption of the weed and then lighting up cannabis cigarettes.

Ras Fia, chief executive officer of the Cannabis Alliance Networking Group, shouted that he came in peace as he stood in front of about 40 protesters.

He then lit up a marijuana cigarette, prompting Washington, D.C. police to wade into the crowd to arrest Fia and three of his supporters who also were smoking.

They were charged with possessing an illegal substance on federal property.

The activists mentioned the shifting tides of public opinion while referring to a 2014 referendum in which 70 percent of Washington voters supported legalized possession of marijuana in the District of Columbia.

The referendum runs counter to moves in Congress to override the D.C. Council’s jurisdiction over marijuana possession and sales.

In the most obvious example, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) proposed an amendment to the 2015 federal spending bill that prohibited the D.C. Council from approving laws to legalize the sale or regulation of marijuana.

The amendment prompted a backlash from D.C. Council members, who accused Congress of trying to undercut the will of local voters. It also led marijuana activists to take more direct action against their opponents in Congress.

Last week, the activists distributed marijuana cigarettes to congressional staff members on federal land near the Capitol.

Also last week, Capitol Police arrested eight activists who lit up marijuana cigarettes in a separate protest. Charges against six of them later were dropped.

Among the activists arrested was Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the advocacy group DCMJ, which spearheaded the District’s marijuana legalization movement. He was arrested again this week at the protest next to the Capitol building.

Eidinger shouted Free D.C. as police took him away in handcuffs.

For more information, contact The Legal Forum ( at email: or phone: 202-479-7240.

D.C. Police Arrest Marijuana Activists


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