Parked in front of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday was a metal cage with wheels tied to a pickup truck. It was called the “haunted HUD house,” and filled the air with the scent of ganja and the sweet sound of reggae.
Some might remember DCMJ as the grassroots force behind the legalization of recreational marijuana in the nation’s capital in 2014. Three years later, a community-led effort spearheaded by DCMJ co-founder Adam Eidinger is targeting HUD’s “draconian rules” penalizing the consumption and possession of cannabis by adults receiving government aid.
“We’re out here because we wanted to do a protest on Halloween where we were gifting cannabis,” said Eidinger. “We knew it would be potent and so we wanted to shed a light on the fact that people living on subsidized housing in America are threatened with eviction on a daily basis. They are literally haunted in their own homes because they use cannabis.”
From their mobile cage simulating imprisonment for marijuana use, activists handed out joints, edibles, and cannabis seeds, all permitted under District law so long as it is done for free. Department of Homeland Security officers stood by outside the building, prepared to make arrests if any of the thirty-or-so protesters entered the property, which is under federal jurisdiction and thus still considers marijuana to be a Schedule 1 restricted substance.
“It’s scary to believe that in 2017 the Department of Housing and Urban Development thinks recipients of housing aid should be evicted for the use or possession of cannabis inside their homes,” read DCMJ’s online synopsis. As more states legalize cannabis for adult & medical use, recipients of aid should not have to fear the HUD boogyman [sic] any longer!”
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