WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against six of the eight people arrested during a marijuana giveaway near the U.S. Capitol.
The U.S. attorney's office said Friday that it would pursue misdemeanor charges only against two men who had more than 2 ounces of pot on them. Possession of up to 2 ounces for personal use is legal in the District of Columbia, although it remains illegal under federal law.
The men were arrested Thursday near the Capitol during a demonstration by pot legalization activists who were giving away free joints. Both have been released from custody.
One was Adam Eidinger, who led the ballot initiative that made pot legal in Washington. Eidinger told AP that the dropped charges indicate that police either "screwed up" or made the arrests simply to silence a lawful demonstration. He also disputed the allegation that he had more than 2 ounces of pot.
"What is this, Russia? This is how Russia acts. That's what they do to activists in other countries when they are trying to silence them," Eidinger said. "It's going to come out that I didn't have more than 2 ounces on me and it will all clear up and we'll probably sue these police for unlawful arrests. What else can we do?"
The U.S. attorney's office said Eidinger was ordered to stay away from the Capitol grounds, but Eidinger disputed that, saying he was only barred from the intersection where he was arrested. He plans to participate in a previously scheduled "smoke-in" outside the Capitol on Monday. Smoking pot in public remains illegal in Washington and activists say they are prepared to be arrested during that demonstration.
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