John Pylka

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John Pylka is the event coordinator for the Washington, DC Smoke-In, the longest-running annual demonstration in support of drug policy reform in the United States.

Founded in 1970, the Smoke-In is now the longest-running annual demonstration in support of drug policy reform in the United States.[1] John Pylka has been the event coordinator for the Smoke-In since 1983, when he booked the band The Dead Kennedys for the July 3–4 "Rock for Watt?" demonstration. In 1985 John was arrested at the White House Smoke-In for attempting to pass out joints.[2] He was sentenced to one year of probation and continued to organize the Smoke-In through his nonprofit oversight committee, "The Fourth of July Hemp Coalition," which he founded in 1992.[3] In addition to working with NORML on the Hemplation CD Tour Project and being named High Times Freedom Fighter of the Month in 1994, he won the right in Federal court to be recognized as one of the "Golden Nine" organizations allowed to sell T-shirts on the National Mall (1996). During the past 12 years he has been focusing on medical cannabis issues, particularly the struggle to legalize the medical use of marijuana in the District of Columbia. In 1998 the citizens of the District passed a provision (Initiative 59) to legalize such use by a margin of 69%. The U.S. Congress blocked action on the issue through amendments to the District of Columbia Appropriations Act that initially prevented release of the referendum results, and then successfully prohibited the city from drafting legislation in response to the vote.

The FY 2011 D.C. appropriations bill signed into law in December 2009 dropped language prohibiting action on I-59, paving the way for D.C. City Council hearings to consider legalization of medical marijuana. John presented testimony relating to regulations for the statute at a Council hearing held February 23, 2010.

REFERENCES [1] [2] [3]


  1. ^ Honor Amerika Day and the First Smoke-In, page 3-6 1982 Bleeker Publishing ISBN 0-912873-00-0
  2. ^ Give Me Librium Or Give Me Meth July 7th, 2001 by Sam Macdonald
  3. ^ Fourth of July Hemp Festival July 4th, 2004 by Keith Halderman