PRESS RELEASE: Congressman Harris’ Office Charges 20 Year Old Student With Felony

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 14, 2018
CONTACT:
ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671
Adam@DCMJ.org
KRIS FURNISH (720) 607-8369
Kris@MDMJ.org

CONGRESSMAN ANDY HARRIS’ OFFICE CHARGES 20 YEAR OLD STUDENT WITH FELONY

Harris Tries to Make an Example Out of Young Activist Who Recorded Staffer Without His Permission During Group Meeting After Multiple Protests

SALISBURY, MD – On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Salisbury University progressive student activist Jake Burdett attended a medical marijuana protest against Congressman Andy Harris organized by Maryland’s new cannabis advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ). At the meeting inside the Congressional office that resulted from the protest, Mr. Burdett briefly livestreamed one of Harris’ staffers without his permission, which Mr. Burdett did not realize was a felony – or even illegal in the state of Maryland at all. Mr. Burdett deleted the livestream the following day after he found out his recording was illegal, but Congressman Harris dropped the hammer on Burdett to try to make an example out of him by deciding to press felony charges.

“Jake, who is a serious student leader, has a bright political future ahead of him that Representative Andy Harris wants to tarnish. In his honest attempt to provide the public with transparency into actions of a Congressional office that regularly insults marijuana reformers with false accusations, Jake’s livestream served as a conduit for the public to witness the endemic corruption in Salisbury,” says Adam Eidinger, Co-Founder of MDMJ. Eidinger adds, “MDMJ activists protested Harris for his backwards views on cannabis and refusals to meet with cannabis reform activists, so we feel Jake is being treated unfairly because of his role in the Democratic Party as Vice-Chair of the Wicomico Democratic Central Committee.”

Although Mr. Burdett is pleading guilty and he has personally apologized to Congressman Harris’ staffer, he did not realize the nonconsensual livestream was against Maryland’s “all-party consent” law at the time. “Is it unreasonable for a 20 year old to think that it’s legal to record a staffer of a United States Congressman in a public space? In a society that supposedly values transparency in government, I do find it odd that Jake can be found guilty of the ‘crime’ of recording the staff of elected government representatives in a taxpayer funded space,” says MDMJ Co-Founder Kris Furnish.

“By deciding to throw the book at Mr. Burdett for an honest mistake, one that was fixed almost immediately, it shows how partisan and petty Congressman Harris has become. He clearly wants to chill citizen participation in government,” says Eidinger. “Rep. Harris is adding to his recent list of bad PR moves that includes meeting with known White Supremacist Chuck Johnson, and planning to meet with the leader, Tomio Okamura, of a far right wing party in Czech Republic, whose secretary called for the gassing of ‘Jews, gays, and Roma’.”

“Mr. Burdett’s plea, which will take place on March 1, in Wicomico County, and Harris’ slew of prior racist scandals, should not distract from the original issue that brought me and other advocates to the protest in the first place – the legalization of cannabis,” says Furnish. “Rep. Harris wants to pretend to be victimized by a 20 year old’s deleted livestream, while he supports the racist war on drugs that actually victimizes thousands of people a day by locking them up for the victimless crime of smoking marijuana, a non-addictive substance with many medicinal benefits. Rep. Harris is a medical doctor, so I’d think he of all people would recognize the medicinal benefits of marijuana, and how it could be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs such as painkillers, which are an epidemic in Rep. Harris’ district right now. We can’t help but wonder if Rep. Harris’ seemingly irrational opposition to legal marijuana has anything to do with the $42,200 he’s accepted from the pharmaceutical lobby in the 2017-2018 election cycle, which vehemently opposes any form of marijuana legalization,” concludes Furnish.

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Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day

Tuesday February 5, 2019 (7:30 AM – 4:00 PM)

HB Room 170 – Annapolis, MD

Please complete this form to register for participation in the Maryland 2019 Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day. One form must be completed for each registrant using the address listed on their Maryland Voter Registration card (or where they intend to register to vote).

Click here to register for Lobby Day

Maryland NORML calls on all who support legalizing responsible adult cannabis use in Maryland to register for the most impactful event of the 2019 legislative session!

The purpose of this lobby day event is to demonstrate that the citizens of Maryland are ready for the General Assembly to hold a vote on Cannabis legalization during the 2019 General Assembly Legislative Session; we want to touch base with as many members of the Maryland General Assembly as we can.

We request that you provide your voter address when you register, allowing us to match you with a scheduled meeting time with your General Assembly representatives in the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates. We request that all registrants allow us to schedule appointments with their respective General Assembly representatives rather than contacting legislators directly. This will help us match registrants with previously scheduled meeting times and avoid legislators continuing to receive phone calls after meetings have been scheduled.

Once you register, you will receive a registration confirmation email with additional information, including your legislator meeting times.

Prior to meeting with your elected officials and/or their staffs, we will provide you with an information package prepared specifically for you. This information package will contain your scheduled appointment times/locations, suggested talking points for your specific representative(s), copies of legislation we are promoting, and other important materials.

Agenda

07:30 AM – 08:00 AM: Register, name tags, pick up your information package, meet and greet, assemble

08:00 AM – 08:30 AM: Guest Speaker and game plan for meetings with elected officials and/or their staffs; review content of participant information packets; answer questions

09:00 AM – 10:00 AM: First round of constituent meetings with elected officials and/or their staffs

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM: Social media, coffee break

11:30 AM – 01:00 PM: Second round of constituent meetings with elected officials and/or their staffs

01:00 PM – 03:00 PM: Social media, lunch on your own

03:00 PM – 04:00 PM: Third round of constituent meetings with elected officials and/or their staffs

MDMJ Meeting Kicking Off The New Congress

  It’s Lobbying Season❗❗❗ 

👔📞📜🏯

MDMJ Meeting Kicking Off The New Congress


Join us this Friday as we kick off the New Year and the  new congress with effective strategies for lobbying in February.

We will cover topics including:

When: Friday, January 11, 2019

Time:  6:00PM – 7:30PM

Where?  Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill  213 W. Main St. Salisbury, MD 21801

We will be in the back in the “Game Room” at Roadie Joe’s. Just ask a server to walk you there if you have trouble finding us.

 

We hope to see some new faces at the meeting, so feel free to bring your friends/family along with you. We want to see this organization grow, so please, spread the word, and let’s get to it!

Click here to RSVP on Facebook


AJ Dawson’s Jury Trial Court Date


Please join us on January 22nd at the District Court of Maryland for Wicomico County for AJ’s jury trial court date. After multiple appearances, AJ finally gets to go before the judge with a jury present to plead his case for marijuana possession along with other charges. We need members of the community to come support AJ as he pleads his innocence against these false and unjust charges. We desperately need cannabis reform, and this case is a prime example of why. It is unjust to arrest people for a plant. However, it happens everyday. We must fight the system to change it’s laws regarding cannabis.

Date:  January 22, 2019

Time:  1:00 PM

Location:  201 Baptist St. Salisbury, MD 21801 District Court of Maryland for                            Wicomico County

Click here to RSVP on Facebook

 

 

MDMJ Monthly Meeting #5

After everyone has cured themselves of election fever by casting their votes on November 6th, it’s time to shift the focus back to why we started this organization: CANNABIS REFORM! Join MDMJ for our fifth meeting being held at Roadie Joe’s Bar and Grill on November 13th from 6:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. to recap election results, and discuss AJ’s second court date on November 14th. Please RSVP to this event on Facebook.


AGENDA

6:00 – 6:05 – Check-in & Introduction (including group exercise)
6:05 – 6:25 – Overview of election results
6:25 – 6:40Discuss October 2nd overdose action and Rachelramone’s civil suit against Andy Harris. (Discuss email sent out 10/24)
6:40-7:00AJ’s upcoming court date
7:00- 7:15 – Brainstorm dates and ideas for demonstrations against Andy Harris. (If Harris wins the election)
7:00- 7:15 – Seek co-sponsorship and support from Jesse Colvin for H.R. 6152. (If Colvin wins the election)
7:15-7:25 – Cannactivity!
7:25-7:30 – Closing


See you guys there! 

Joint Statement from MDMJ & DCMJ on the #OverdoseHarris Demonstration

Over two weeks ago, we announced our plans for two demonstrations at Congressman Andy Harris’ offices to highlight his callous attitude toward cannabis as a treatment for opioid addiction. As the sponsor of the budget rider that prevents the Council of the District of Columbia from legislating on cannabis reform, we have, on numerous occasions, both in person and in writing, sought a meeting with Congressman Harris to discuss why he continues to tyrannically stymy common-sense cannabis reforms in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and across the nation.  Harris has refused to meet with medical cannabis patients because he takes money from the pharmaceutical industry that would rather push pills than a plant.

At approximately 12 noon today, Tuesday, October 2, cannabis reform advocates gathered outside of Congressman Harris’ District of Columbia office at 1533 Longworth House Office Building. As advocates were making their way toward the Congressman’s door, he was walking down the hallway in the opposite direction and made a bee-line towards his office. DCMJ volunteer, Rachel Ramone Donlan, whom Congressman Harris promised he would talk to in person about cannabis reform, asked to speak with the Congressman and followed him to one of the entrances to his office. Instead of acknowledging her and fulfilling the promise he gave to her at his August 10 town hall meeting in Salisbury, Maryland, Congressman Harris slammed the door on her face. She tried to open the door only to find Harris had locked the door. Ms. Donlan then walked toward the other entrance to Congressman Harris’ office and his staff slammed the door on her leg. Ms. Donlan is disabled and suffers Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes her intense pain. She consumes medical cannabis in order to stay off addictive prescription drugs. After the door caught her foot, she proceeded to go on with the planned demonstration and used her medical cannabis in the hallway to help mitigate the physical pain caused by Harris and his staff.

At no time was there any assault on the Congressman, rather the Congressman and his staff assaulted cannabis reform advocates instead of attempting to hear why they were at his office in the first place.  Any bruising to the Congressman’s wrists was self-inflicted and not caused by Ms. Donlan. She weighs approximately 90 pounds and is about 5 feet tall and is spending tonight in jail due to Harris’ continued callous attitude toward cannabis reform.


This was first published on the DCMJ Twitter account


Apology Letter To Rep. Andy Harris

Dear Congressman Andy Harris,

After you and your staff rudely slammed your office doors on DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”), Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”) and myself, I believed that I should write a letter of apology to you and some of those affected by our recent visit to your congressional office in Washington, DC. on October 2, 2018.

I’m sorry to hear you might have hurt your wrist slamming the door on me. I’m a 46-years-old, 90 lb, handicapped, Christian, single mother that has a lifelong reputation for being a non-violent, peaceful advocate. For you to think I’m a threat to you or your office is inconceivable and ironic. It was never my intention to make you feel intimidated.

I’m sorry that formal requests, to schedule an appointment with your office have been denied for years. You told me at the town hall meeting in Salisbury, MD on August 10th that you would talk to me “offline.” I believed you, and I’m sorry I did. I thought you’d want me to enter your office and have an honest discussion. At no time did I imagine that I wouldn’t be welcome in a congressional office and now, thanks to you, I cannot visit offices unless I get an appointment. I now know it’s impossible.

I’m sorry for your soul Congressman, I pray for it daily. You fail to have the decency and ability to listen to those whose lives you affect with your staunch opposition to cannabis. Your continued prohibitionist position on common-sense drug reform hurts the poor, sick, elderly, abused, students, and our valiant veterans in states where cannabis is already legal, Have you forgotten the Hippocratic Oath? You can improve the lives of medical patients immediately if you’d only evolve on this issue.

I’m sorry that you receive money from “Big Pharma,” As a doctor, you refuse to look at the overwhelming evidence that cannabis is a healing plant. You pretend to play both sides by expressing feigned interest in research to delay legalization when research already exists. You should listen to the people, like myself, that the plant has helped. The plant is not dangerous, rather it’s the antiquated laws you continue to support that makes it dangerous.

I’m sorry for my friends at DCMJ and MDMJ because you called us “violent protesters” on your congressional website. I know none of us ever are violent. The only violence endured came from you and your staff in the form a slammed door without any explanation.

I’m sorry that so many of our friends have died in the opiate crisis waiting for cannabis to become legal and accepted by doctors like yourself. I’m sorry that you won’t help disadvantaged communities by ending the racist war on drugs. I’m sorry my friends have gone to jail for a plant. The courts are still overflowing with cases of simple marijuana possession and consumption.

I’m sorry for the women of the United States. In this moment of #MeToo and after Dr. Ford’s recent testimony, that a member of Congress assumes that an assertive woman is the same as being physically aggressive or violent. It’s true, I’m a confident and assertive woman and I won’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you fear me so very much you resorted to calling the U.S. Capitol Police.

I’m sorry that, like many women after being assaulted by a man, you attempted to put all of the blame on me and not hold yourself accountable for your actions. To defame my friends and me is typical of the toxic masculinity that you and many members of Congress exude. However, don’t forget I still have two years to file an assault claim against you. It might take me that long to decide if I should put myself through that process, again. Hopefully, by then the Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified by the final state needed for the full passage and I will be equally protected under the law.

You should apologize, Congressman. Not just for slamming the doors on us but for all of the pain and suffering at your hands. Are you sorry for your part in the opiate epidemic caused by your hostility toward cannabis reform that could otherwise save lives? I doubt that.

Finally, I’m sorry you may not want to hear from the people like myself but you will on election day. I’m not the only strong-minded woman in the cannabis community. and we will not be silenced.

Sincerely,

RachelRamone Donlan


Ms. Donlan can be reached at Rachel@DCMJ.org or on Twitter @RachelRamone

First Annual MDMJ Cookout

JOIN MDMJ AT OUR FIRST ANNUAL COOKOUT

MDMJ welcomes you to our First Annual Fall Cookout! To show thanks for everyone’s hard work since we began this community organization, we are having a fun cookout gathering event this Saturday at the Salisbury City Park. Join us for food, music, games and good company as we finish off the summer season into fall. Bring your friends, family, and anyone in the community who also agrees with full cannabis legalization! We are passionate about removing the negative stigma affiliated with cannabis users. Come show your cannabis pride with us this Saturday! PLEASE RSVP ON FACEBOOK! 

The specific location for this event will be held at “Picnic Island” by the Salisbury Zoo.  755 S Park Dr, Salisbury, MD 21804
This is a NON-SMOKING EVENT
-Pet friendly
-Kid friendly

In your GPS, program in 755 S. Park Dr., Salisbury, MD 21804. You will arrive at the Salisbury Zoo.

When you see the big playground, you’re in the right place! The park sits adjacent to the zoo and the park. 

Simply walk across the bridge that crosses the creek. 

Follow the smell of burgers and hotdogs on the grill. You’ve arrived! 

 

 

Let’s have some fun!

PRESS RELEASE: Rachel Donlan Seeks Formal Assault Claim Against Rep. Andy Harris For Slamming Door On Her

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 4, 2018

CONTACT:
ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671
Adam@DCMJ.org
KRIS FURNISH (720) 607-8369
Kris@MDMJ.org

Rachel Donlan Seeks Formal Assault Claim Against Rep. Andy Harris For Slamming Door On Her

Photos Show Ms. Donlan Bruises

Harris Statement Claims of ‘Physical Confrontation’ Mistakes Free Speech and Normal Business of Lobbying Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – When cannabis reform activists from DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”) and Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”) visited Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-01) at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2,  2018 at his Washington, DC office at 1533 Longworth House Office Building,  they had planned to enter his public office and attempt to speak to the Congressman or protest him for ignoring numerous requests to listen to bonafide medical marijuana patients.  This had been announced over two weeks prior after multiple letters, physically visiting his office, and calls to his office by MDMJ volunteers requesting a scheduled meeting with medical marijuana patients were never acted upon.

At the August 10 town hall meeting in Salisbury, Maryland, Rep. Harris gave a pledge to Ms. Rachel Ramone Donlan to have a meeting concerning medical marijuana, so when she saw him walking down the hallway towards his office, she believed he was going to finally talk to her. As Ms. Donlan tries to speak to Rep. Harris, not touching him or yelling at him, she rushes to follow him into his public office not knowing he was entering through a private side door. Instead of welcoming her or saying anything to anyone present, he slammed the door in her face, and physically hurt her leg and knee.  Ms. Donlan, who is disabled, weighs about 90 lbs, and suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes her intense physical pain.  She has been consuming medical marijuana since 2011 for pain relief and as a result is opioid-free.

“I was trying to speak to the Congressman about how cannabis saved my life,” said Ms. Donlan, “but instead of pausing to listen, he slammed the door on my leg and knee.” Ms. Donlan proceeded to stage an “overdose” outside of Rep. Harris’ office and in order to deal with the physical pain caused by the congressman and his staff, she lit up a joint and was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police for consumption of marijuana.  “Rep. Harris would rather people take pills than utilize the healing properties of cannabis,” concludes Ms. Donlan.

For over four years cannabis reform advocates have sought meetings with Rep. Harris and for four years he’s been evasive, misleading, and outright hostile to cannabis reform advocates. Tuesday’s incident only showed how far out of his way Rep. Harris would go to avoid civilized debate: he hid in his office like a coward. Twenty minutes later Rep. Harris came outside of his office with the U.S. Capitol Police, he couldn’t even identify the person who allegedly assaulted him.  He did recognize Adam Eidinger, his favorite medical marijuana constituent. Rep. Harris proceeds to claim he hurt his wrist slamming the door and goes on to spin his cowardice as political violence in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, but Rep. Harris’ negligent action of slamming his office door on Ms. Donlan resulted in bruising to her leg and knee.  A formal assault claim was began today against Rep. Harris with the U.S. Capitol Police by Ms. Donlan’s attorney Mark Goldstone.

Initial Reports of Protest Violence in the Media Were Misleading or False

For weeks MDMJ and DCMJ reached out to journalists about our upcoming demonstration at Rep. Harris’ public offices in his district and Washington, DC. We sent out press releases and called journalists and we received silence. “When the demonstration finally happened as a last resort, we ended up with misleading and fake news.” says Ms. Kris Furnish, cofounder of MDMJ and a constituent of Rep. Harris who lives in Salisbury, Maryland.  

From breathless headlines like “Protesters Try To Break Down Md. Congressman’s Office Door” from Baltimore’s CBS affiliate to Fox News, which even went so far as incorrectly saying a Twitter account “Dank City Growers” was behind the demonstration. A simple Google search and a few minutes watching the live-stream would have shown a much different picture.  “Journalists need to do a better job at hearing both sides of a story before tweeting incorrect information or writing a one-sided story. We had a statement available online but instead of including ours, CNN used only Rep. Harris’ misleading statement and in doing so missed the point of why we wanted to speak to Rep. Harris in the first place,” said Ms. Furnish, who is 28 years old and is one of the two arrestees outside Rep. Harris’ office.

“These protests wouldn’t be necessary if someone would just sit down with us advocates. We’ve tried to meet with Rep. Harris and he and his staff won’t get back to us,” continues Ms. Furnish, “Even after multiple polite attempts to meet with him and leaving message after message with his staff, a Rep. Harris staffer we encountered outside Harris’ office had no idea who we were or why we were there and proceeded to meet with medical industry representatives,” said Ms. Furnish. “It’s not plausible they didn’t know we were coming, and the whole thing felt like a set up. The reason we told the media we were coming was the hope that Rep. Harris would actually meet with us to discuss cannabis as a treatment for opioid addiction- a topic Rep. Harris mention in a press statement his office released last Friday. We would still like to meet with him and tell the story of medical marijuana patients like Ms. Donlan,” concludes Ms. Furnish.

Members of the media may contact Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or by email at Adam@DCMJ.org with inquiries. Rachel Donlan’s injury photos are available by request only for accredited media only.

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Photos from #OverdoseHarris Demonstration:

Rep. Harris outside his office unable to identify activists who allegedly assaulted him


DCMJ volunteer Rachel Donlan participating in a die-in outside of Rep. Harris DC office


DCMJ Phrygians in the hallway outside Rep. Harris office


Over 20 volunteers from MDMJ showed up to Rep. Harris Salisbury Office


Rep. Harris' staffer finally comes out to tell everyone to disperse and that he'd meet with only 6 members of MDMJ


MDMJ activists outside Rep. Harris Salisbury office waiting for a meeting


MDMJ Planning Meeting #4

Our 4th meeting will be mostly consumed with discussion about Andy Harris Overdose action THIS TUESDAY (OCT. 2ND).

Join us at Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill for our 4th MDMJ meeting!!!!                                  213 W. Main St. Salisbury, MD 21801

-AGENDA-
5:00-5:15pm – Check-In and Introductions
5:15-5:45pm – Overdose Rep. Andy Harris Planning
5:45-6:00pm – Updates Since Last Meeting
6:00-6:15pm – Discuss AJ’s Court Date
6:15-6:30pm – Announcements
6:30pm – Adjourn

CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK