Marijuana: Washington, D.C., To Decriminalize Cannabis?

Patrick Frye - Author

Oct. 29 2016, Updated 7:37 a.m. ET

Marijuana, Washington, D.C., and legalization usually don’t come up in the same sentence.

The charge for marijuana legalization has mostly come from state legislators, while the Obama administration and the Federal government want to continue banning cannabis.

But when you have medical marijuana being considered for children, perhaps it’s not so strange to hear about Washington, D.C., marijuana legalization efforts. The arrest rate for marijuana possession in Washington, D.C., is three times higher than the national average and disproportionately affect the African American community by a ratio of four to one. The law requires that cannabis offenders face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

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D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells says Washington DC needs to decriminalize marijuana…for the children:

“Once you have a marijuana charge on your record, you cannot participate in certainly the construction boom that is happening all over the city, and it works to stigmatize people… and it disadvantages them from jobs.”

Under the proposed Washington, D.C., marijuana policy, the possession of one ounce or less of cannabis would be a civil, not criminal, penalty punishable by a $100 fine. Juveniles would be required to attend a drug awareness program and provide community service.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier says marijuana decriminalization in Washington, D.C., is a “significant issue that merits robust discussion” but the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs says they need to go further:

“While this legislation is an important step in the right direction, Councilmembers should consider following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington by legally regulating marijuana.”

Did you ever believe you’d hear marijuana, Washington, D.C., and legalization in the same sentence?


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