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.