Smoking pot in private clubs in Washington D.C. was legal on Tuesday — but the move lasted only for 30 minutes!
The Washington D.C. Council voted to allow smoking pot at rooftop bars, sidewalk patios, and almost any other place a city resident declared to be a private pot club, according to the Washington Post, before reversing the decision after less than half an hour. The reason for reversing the decision appears to be the vehement appeals raised by city Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, who argued that there would be no way to rein in open pot use once current restrictions were lifted.
But despite the ban being reinstated, pot smokers will be pleased to learn that the Washington D.C. Council intends to review the decision after four weeks, and if most members concur on allowing private businesses to use marijuana in the city, one could expect Washington D.C. to follow in the footsteps of cities like Amsterdam, where it is legal to use marijuana in private businesses — and by extension — operate private clubs for pot smokers.
Yet, it might not be a cakewalk for the Council members, with Bowser and the Congress expected to raise major disagreements with the dissolution of the ban.
But Council members expect Washington D.C. to finally relent. As it is, partial legalization has already led to open smoking in various parts of the city. So, why shouldn’t private clubs be allowed to operate in their own little premises, asks Jack Evans, one of Council’s most conservative members.
“I don’t know if [dissolving the ban] would have been as catastrophic as people say. [Partial legalization] really lit a fire under everybody to come up with these regulations and to address the issue.”
This will come as great news for pot advocates, who argue that there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana with friends and having a good time. And that is exactly what the new law could entail, provided most Washington D.C. council members intend to implement it within the stipulated time. Adam Eidinger, one of the major advocates for marijuana usage in Washington D.C., hopes smoking pot in private clubs — thus leading to a more inclusive “social-pot culture” — will finally be a reality in the nation’s capital, sooner rather than alter.
“We are heading toward some sort of social-smoking exception, and that’s what we really want. Pot is all about having a good time — and it’s better with friends.”
Under the 2014 ballot measure, which legalized marijuana in Washington, D.C., residents and visitors older than 21 can possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow it at home, according to IBT. However, since the Congress blocked the city from adopting laws that could regulate buying and selling, things like private pot clubs still do not remain an immediate possibility.
And Bowser intends to keep it that way. The Mayor has done all in her power to prevent the formation of unregulated pot-sharing organizations, and had earlier sent legislation to the council prohibiting marijuana at nightclubs, private clubs, and virtually any other business registered by the city.
But Eidinger hopes the city will allow restaurants, clubs, concert halls, and other businesses to allow marijuana consumption in designated smoking areas.
It remains to be seen if private pot-smoking clubs are allowed to thrive in Washington, D.C., in the coming days, but with Bowser set to meet Eidinger and other pro-marijuana groups next week, it might not be long before you can have a pot night out with your friends in the nation’s capital city.
[Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images]