A group of protesters launched a protest on Tuesday afternoon which they called “Overdose Harris.” On social media, the protesters used the #overdoseharris hashtag to plan the event.
The protesters targeted Maryland congressman Andy Harris. The small group of mainly women, wearing floppy red hats and riding big scooters, waited outside of Harris’s office in the Congressional Office Building. When Harris walked up, they tried to talk to him, hoping to be invited in to his office for a talk.
You can watch that here:
It didn’t go well for the protesters. Harris walked by them in a hurry, scarcely turning his head to look at them. Their lead organizer got her foot stuck in Harris’s door and needed the help of one of his staffers to get unstuck.
At last word, Capitol Hill police were on their way to arrest at least one of the protesters. You can see photos of Rachel Ramone, one of the group’s organizers, lying on the floor in protest as police prepare to take her away:
The Protesters Were ‘Fighting for the Rights of Cannabis Users’
The protesters are with a group called Maryland Marijuana Justice. They are calling for the legalization of marijuana in Maryland — but not just for recreational use, or for pain relief. These protesters say that marijuana is a proven “exit drug” for opiate users, and that, in other words, it can help people who have become addicted to heroin, or synthetic opiates like fentanyl, ease themselves off of the drug.
The group decided to protest at Harris’s office after he made remarks at a recent town hall meeting, declaring that he is against any change in the laws around marijuana use or sentencing. You can see parts of that town hall here.
“Citizens of Maryland and the District of Columbia are tired of Andy Harris turning a blind eye to a safe solution to the opioid crisis,” said Kris Furnish, co-founder of MDMJ. “Marijuana is a proven pain management alternative to opioids, but in Maryland we have only seen an increase in opioid related deaths since Harris was first elected in November 2010. Members of the GOP Congress led by Congressman Harris remain willfully ignorant and outright hostile to cannabis reform. This MUST STOP!”