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With Protest Against Congressman, Activists Take A Stand For D.C. Home Rule

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Activists turned out to protest a Republican congressman who attempted to block marijuana decriminalization in D.C., but the event seemed to be more about home rule in the city.
Tyler Bass
Activists turned out to protest a Republican congressman who attempted to block marijuana decriminalization in D.C., but the event seemed to be more about home rule in the city.

Thursday local activists came out to protest Maryland Republican Andy Harris' attempt to block decriminalization of marijuana in D.C. But the protest against Harris isn't as much about herb as it is about home rule.

Adam Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, says even before his group put marijuana legalization on the ballot for November he was a home-rule activist. "So I think autonomy's the most important thing. It covers everybody," he says. "It covers the abortion activists, it covers people who want to regulate guns, and it covers the people who want to legalize cannabis and stop the civil rights catastrophe."

Pro-pot activists are defending the already-in-effect decriminalization measures passed by the D.C. Council, which a House-passed measure would overturn.

"This is an undemocratic process where someone who we did not elect is making legislation for us and changing our laws," says James Jones, communications director for D.C. Vote, an organization pushing for full representation in Congress. "I mean, I don't know how more un-American you can get than that, or more undemocratic."

Harris says the way D.C.'s decriminalization measure is written will lead to heavy usage from minors. A Senate subcommittee has rejected Harris' effort and voted to fund the District without any policy changes.

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