Cheech & Friends Attend Fundraising Gala on the Hill - NBC4 Washington
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Cheech & Friends Attend Fundraising Gala on the Hill



    It had all the trappings of a typical Hill fundraiser -- open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a star-studded honorary host committee.  Yet it was anything but.

    The more than 300 guests at lobbyist group Marijuana Policy Project's 15th anniversary gala -- including possible 2012 Presidential candidate New  Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson -- milled around freely, some without name tags, and the pretensions and rigid etiquette of typical Hill fundraisers seemed to go up in smoke.

    "We're all united behind one thing and that's the legalization of marijuana," said Cheech Marin, half of the comedic duo Cheech and Chong, who received the Trailblazer Award from the organization.

    "It's a simple issue, but it seems so hard to push it across." 

    The event's honorary host committee included Margaret Cho, Ani Difranco, Melissa Etheridge, Rep. Sam Farr, Bill Maher, chef Spike Mendelsohn and even former Mayor of Baltimore Kurt Schmoke. Rep. Thomas Slater was awarded the Lifetime Leadership Award and Evalyn Merrick was given the Legislation Leadership Award. 

    The event was held following the passage of a historic marijuana reform bill in Sacramento, Calif., that would tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.