I met Washington D.C. marijuana legalization organizer Adam Eidinger at the 2012 National Cannabis Marijuana Business Conference in Denver the day after the historic 2012 Election. We had a brief discussion about his desire to pursue a legalization campaign in Washington D.C., and I told him that I thought an effort would be worth it, at the very least to push the issue and conversation. Here we are almost two years later, and his efforts have not only brought attention to marijuana reform in Washington D.C., but his efforts have also landed marijuana legalization on the ballot in Washington D.C. this November. Per Washington City Paper:
The District got one step closer to legal marijuana today, thanks to a D.C. Board of Elections decision that will put a measure legalizing the drug on November's ballot.
After months of legal wrangling and often tumultuous signature gathering, the board ruled that the organizers behind the D.C. Cannabis Campaign successfully collected the required 23,780 signatures to make the ballot. The District decriminalized marijuana last month.
If the initiative passes, residents of Washington D.C. will be able to posses up to two ounces of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants. Sales will still be prohibited, mainly because initiatives dealing with revenue are limited in Washington D.C.. Congress decides revenue issues in Washington D.C., not the city itself. Residents can give away up to an ounce for no consideration if the initiative passes.
Washington D.C. joins Oregon and Alaska for the 2014 Election. The battle in Washington D.C. will be fierce, and the campaign needs every dollar it can get to ensure a victory on Election Day. Click here to donate to the campaign. Below is a press release from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition about the ballot qualification:
The DC Board of Elections revealed today that the DC Cannabis Campaign has submitted 57,000 signatures, more than double what was needed, to get Initiative 71 on the ballot. This initiative would allow adults over 21 to legally cultivate up to six marijuana plants (no more than three of which can be mature) and possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. The DC Council is concurrently weighing a bill that would tax and regulate sales, which, according to DC law, remain unaddressed by the initiative.
According to an ACLU report released last year, Washington, DC has the highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with blacks more than 8 times as likely as white to be arrested, despite similar rates of use.
"This initiative comes at a great time and in a great place," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The District has one of the country's highest rates of racial disparities in arrest and is right at Congress's doorstep, where more and more political leaders from both sides of the aisle are beginning to follow their constituents in recognizing that drug policy reform is one of the most effective ways to address the problems of our current criminal justice system."
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officials who, after fighting in the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.