Washington, D.C.'s "Love Affair" with Marijuana

By Matt Welch

There's a pretty darned good cover package in the current issue of Washingtonian magazine about "Washington's Love Affair With Marijuana." Here's a fun quote:

"This is a town where I could probably kill 200 major careers if I wanted to be a complete prick," says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which is headquartered on K Street. "Politicians, members of Congress and the Senate, many of their principals—legislative directors, chiefs of staff, communications directors—people in the private sector, Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Brookings, police, any number of notable journalists from television, print, radio, many brand names most Americans would recognize pretty quickly—I've smoked with all of them. There is more smoke in DC closets than there is sex."

Disclosure: I have never smoked pot with Allen St. Pierre. Least not that I remember.


For many, a hit before bedtime eases insomnia. "Better pot than Ambien," the PR exec says. For others, it calms the tensions of the 80-hour workweek.

"For people who have really high-producing, high-stress jobs, it's like this is my break in order to release a lot of the stress," says a 37-year-old who used to work in politics. She smokes with friends "in high-ranking government positions, including a friend who interacts with the President every day." [...]

Washington is "schizophrenic" when it comes to marijuana, says Allen St. Pierre: There are plenty of people here who smoke pot, but not many who will talk about it.

"We wear gold marijuana lapel pins when we lobby," St. Pierre says. "In DC, everyone thinks I'm Canadian. They'll go, 'Oh, hey—maple leaf!' And I go, 'No, no, cannabis leaf,' and the immediate facial reaction is either a quirky smile or a furrowing brow as if someone just put a stinky cheese under their nose."

Whole package hereReason on marijuana here.


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