The mass of protesters gathered for a White House protest couldn’t quite wait for 4:20 Saturday afternoon, the pre-planned time they had designated to light their marijuana-packed joints and pipes in protest of the federal laws that prohibit the drug’s consumption.
Just past 4:17, plumes of smoke arose from the crowd of more than 100 people, which was surrounded by officers from the U.S. Park Police, Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service. Still, because the activists remained on the street (owned by the District, which has legalized pot possession) and off the sidewalks (owned by the federal government, which has not) no one was arrested. Just two people were given citations and $25 fines for public consumption. A man who knew the pair said they were confronted by police only after a member of their group accidentally blew smoke in an officer’s face.
The protest’s centerpiece was a giant balloon created to look like a marijuana joint. Initially the protesters carried the 51-foot tube to the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but Secret Service agents refused to let them bring the object to the White House while it remained inflated. The activists deflated it, brought it over on a cart and, shortly after 4 p.m., inflated it again, defying law enforcement’s orders.
MEANWHILE IN HELSINKI