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Pot-smoking protesters storm GOP lawmaker's DC office; Capitol Police intervene

Activists staged a demonstration called #OverdoesHarris at the Washington, D.C. office of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) on Tuesday, urging him to legalize cannabis. The protesters accused the congressman of assaulting one of them. (Image source: Video screencap)

A group of medical cannabis advocates tried to force their way Tuesday into the Washington, D.C., office of Republican Rep. Andy Harris (Md.) in the Longworth House Office Building.

After the congressman's staff prohibited them from entering the office, the undeterred activists staged a protest in the hallway — with one lighting a marijuana cigarette during their demonstration.

What are the details?

Huffington Post political reporter Jennifer Bendery tweeted at 9:37 a.m. that "Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) just had his office door pushed through and was assaulted by demonstrators, a Cap Police officer tells me."

Bendery then followed up with a tweets saying "per Cap Police officer: Harris was holding his office door closed but was not successful. Also the demonstrators were smoking weed."

Video of the incident was quickly released by the demonstrators, who recorded the ordeal. After watching the 30-minute clip, several Twitter users suggested that the word "assault" was an exaggeration.

What about the protesters?

In the video posted by Adam Eidinger, one demonstrator can be seen riding a scooter while others walked to approach the doors of Harris' office to demand a meeting with the congressman.

But Harris happened to be walking by, and entered his office before the self-proclaimed "#OverdoseHarris" activists could grab his attention. One demonstrator scurried after him but the office door was closed and locked before she reached it. Two other demonstrators joined her in knocking on the door and pressing against it.

The same demonstrator (who had made her original approach on scooter), tried a second office door, but staffers on the other side attempted to close it while she lodged her foot to stop it. Another apparent Harris staffer happened to be walking by and assisted the woman in dislodging her foot. The staffer attempted to calm the protesters while they directed their anger at him.

The demonstrators then staged a "die-in" while Capitol Police approached the office. "I'm dying from prohibition," one of the activists said, while another argued "Cannabis could have saved my friend but he's dead now because of opioids."

Repeatedly throughout the video the #OverdoseHarris group declared that Harris was in the pocket of "big pharma" and that congressmen like him are "the problem."

What did the protesters do?

Protesters heckled Harris, saying, "He is a doctor and should know better," and urging him to support the legalization of marijuana.

A demonstrator can then be seen claiming to a Capitol Police officer that Harris pushed one of the protesters during the incident. Congressman Harris cannot be seen in the footage of the woman trying to open the second office door.

As more police officers gathered around the two women lying in the hallway, one of them identified as "Kris" lights up a joint and is promptly arrested. Voices can then be heard saying, "you can totally smell" the marijuana in the hallway with the camera zooming in on the joint still on the floor. Another protester, identified as "Rachel" remained lying down.

The voice of the cameraperson can then be heard saying, "Wow, Rachel's so brave. Harris really did assault her — it's on video. I think there's gonna be some fallout from this."

A female voice asks, "He put his hands on her?" to which he replies, "Yes!" Then continues, "Harris basically pushed her right in this doorway right here. It was kind of shocking. She was just trying to talk to him and he just shoved her."

Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted out that Harris' hand was jammed at some point during the incident.

Pergram followed up with a report that "two demonstrators were observed to display and light marijuana cigarettes" and were both arrested.

One last thing…
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