City Desk

Get Ready for the Inaugural Cannabis Awards Tonight

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells will take home a Vanguard award tonight—surely a worthy consolation prize for a man who just lost the mayoral race and is out a D.C Council seat.

The award will be presented at the inaugural DMV Cannabis Awards Event, which celebrates people who have worked to reform marijuana laws in the region. The actual award is a plaque, and there is no cash prize.

The event is intended to bring together leaders in the marijuana reform movement from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and it was organized by the DC Cannabis Campaign, Virginia NORML, and Maryland NORML—groups that lobby to reform marijuana laws. Together, the groups formed the new DMV Cannabis Coalition.

"We wanted to do 4/20 event, but we didn't want to do it on Easter, so we're doing it on 4/17," says Adam Eidinger, the chair of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, the group pushing to legalize marijuana in D.C. through a November ballot initiative.

Eidinger says honoring Wells was an obvious choice. Wells has long been a proponent for marijuana reform and pushed the recent—albeit ultimately diluted—marijuana decriminalization bill through the council.

"If it were up to me, we could probably name the award for him at some point in the future," says Eidinger, adding that the audience will probably start a "Run, Tommy, Run" chant at some point tonight. Wells recently announced that he is mulling an at-large council run. (Eidinger recently told Washington City Paper that while he is a big Wells supporter, he ultimately ended up voting for Muriel Bowser in the mayoral primary.)

For Virginia, the Vanguard is going to Del. Patrick Hope, an Arlington Democrat serving in the state house who wants to get a decriminalization bill through the Virginia state legislature. The Maryland award will be presented to Candace Junkin, the ‎co-founder at International Women's Cannabis Coalition. She was an instrumental lobbyist, according to Eidinger, in helping to push through Maryland's recent decriminalization bill.

Doug Fine, a journalist and the author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, is the keynote speaker and has a "lively Powerpoint" presentation.

The awards start at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Busboys and Poets on K and 5th streets NW. Tickets are $20 and money goes to the DMV Cannabis Coalition. All are welcome, but don't wear a suit, Eidinger says.

"That's not just not our scene, that's not who we are yet," he says.

Cannabis photo via Shutterstock

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