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D.C. May Soon Decriminalize Marijuana

Mayor Gray gives his OK

The penalty for the possession of a small amount of marijuana in the District of Columbia may soon be the same as a parking ticket. Over the past two days the DC council held hearings on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in the district.

Currently, possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense in DC. It is punishable with up to a $1,000 fine and six months in prison. The bill from Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) would instead make possession of up to one ounce only a civil infraction punishable with just a $100 fine.

The bill already has support of a majority of the council and received a big boast on Wednesday when Mayor Vincent Gray (D), for the first time ever, publicly backed decriminalization. According to the Washington Post the mayor said, “I support decriminalization. Legalization is another issue. I’m not there on that issue, yet”

Now that the issue has support from the entire DC government it is likely some form of decriminalization legalization will be approved in the near future. Hopefully, if the council approves the bill Congress will choose not to intervene.

Photo by thisisbossi under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at