On the 4th of July, the annual Hemp/Cannabis legalization march had to pass through the Mall bag search checkpoints, at least one arrest was reported just past the checkpoints. Some others refused to enter the concert area due to the checkpoints.
The hemp/cannabis legalization parade coming down 17th st
Celebrating “Freedom” American style-with police checkpoints and bag searches
Those checkpoints are probably why this march and concert no longer draws the thousands it used to before George W Bush brought public event checkpoints to DC. All that “Freedom Fence” along the Mall for the fireworks, and all those bag searches by uniformed cops must be “Freedom American Style.” I have dubbed the Fence the “George W Bush Memorial Freedom Fence. DC is on the verge of legalizing pot, so long as a certain Congressman from MD’s Eastern Shore does not succeed in derailing DC’s decision. There is a call for a boycott of MD Eastern Shore products due to his interference. Speakers at the pre-march rally pointed out that laws jailing people empower racist police and organized crime alike.
There is a lot of history in the 45 years of so this march has taken place. During the Vietnam War marchers had to go through the reflecting pool to bypass blockading National Guardsmen, I think that was in 1971. In 1983 and 1984 there was a lot of burning of Selective Service (draft) registration forms. In 1986 Ronald Reagan’s interior secretary James Watt vowed “No rock music on the Mall” after a 1985 Beach Boys concert merged with the postsmoke in concert. The “Rock Against Reagan” concert made him eat those words!
Police attempts to arrest marchers during the 1980’s had a way of triggering street and park battles, one year the crowd chased the Park Police halfway around the White House, in another year (1988) Dana Beal was arrested onstage and charged with trumped-up felonies after an arrest at the pre-smoke in (July 3ed) concert that year ended in the disarming of a cop. It took William Kunstler’s legal firepower to quash those made-up charges against Dana, who was nowhere near the fighting that day.
During the Clinton years there were a lot of jokes about “teaching Bill to inhale” referring to his dubious claim to have sampled pot but “not inhaled” when he was in College. During this time the police attacks and battles of the Reagan years seemed to wind down.
The last big march and “smoke-in” as it used to be called was probably July 4, 2001, which was the last year before George W Bush brought all those checkpoints and “security theater” into the city.