City leaders in the nation's capital intend to remove criminal penalties for pot, replacing possible arrest with a mere $25 fine, the Washington Post reports. The paper's editorial board says the plan is a great idea, but thinks the fine should be closer to $100.
With 10 of 13 council members in support of the proposal, it is amost certain to pass. Last week, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray indicated his clear support of the measure, saying he wasn't yet convinced that outright legalization is the best solution to forty years of internalized federal war against American plant lovers.
D.C. Councilman David Grosso thinks the plan doesn't go far enough, and introduced a bill to legalize cannabis outright. But that proposal doesn't have the necessary votes to move forward at this point. Drug policy activist Adam Eidinger opposed the decrim plan, saying capital city voters demand legal cannabis. He told the Washingtonian that his group hopes to put a marijuana legalization measure in front of D.C. voters next year.
Washington, D.C. voters overwhelmingly enacted a medical cannabis law in 1998, but Georgia Congressman Bob Barr introduced federal legislation to forbid election officials from tallying the vote. A court allowed the vote to be counted, but the federal ban on D.C. dispensaries stuck for ten years. Barr went on to become a libertarian talk show host and denounced his actions. Fifteen years after voters legalized medical pot, the first D.C. dispensary finally opened.
Lets hope the decriminalization and legalization proposals move a bit faster this time.