Our nation’s capitol has already legalized medical cannabis, including the licensing and regulation of medical dispensaries. Washington, D.C., may just move one step closer to legalizing cannabis for all adults by decriminalizing personal use.
From the New York Daily News:
Washington, D.C.’s city council will vote on a measure that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, making it a civil violation punishable with a fine of $100.
At a news conference, Councilmember Tommy Wells, chairman of the council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, noted a recent American Civil Liberties Union report that marijuana arrests in the nation’s capital are more than three times the national average and that African-Americans in the District are eight times more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites.
Under current laws in the capital, possession of any amount of marijuana is a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Marijuana rights advocates said the Washington measure is too long in coming.
Decriminalizing personal amounts of cannabis is a great step in the right direction. Simple possession misdemeanor charges, while usually not resulting in lengthy prison sentences, can still hinder employment and educational opportunities. More and more Americans are quickly learning the folly of unduly punishing cannabis consumers, particularly when our nation’s past three presidents used cannabis at some point during their youth. It will be interesting to see how Congress reacts to this move, if the measure passes, and even more so when D.C. residents choose to end the War on Cannabis altogether and legalize cannabis for all adults.