Washington DC Voters To Decide On Legalization

Washington D.C. voters will be able to decide whether to make recreational marijuana legal later this year.  Question 71 to legalize it was approved yesterday by the D.C Board of Elections and will be included on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Council Member Jack Evans (D) believes that "it will pass overwhelmingly."  If that holds true, then it will become legal to:

  1. "possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use;
  2. grow no more than six cannabis plants with 3 or fewer being mature, flowering plants, within the person’s principal residence;
  3. transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older; and
  4. use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing, or processing of marijuana or cannabis."

Source: DC Cannabis Campaign

Selling cannabis would still be illegal, and we're a little concerned about the limits, but this is a huge step in the right direction!

Washington DC petitioners and residents produced over 57,000 signatures to make this happen, and they only needed 22,000.  They chose to do a legislative amendment rather than a constitutional amendment.  They almost always require much less signatures, but, like here in Ohio, legislative amendments usually give the legislature the ability to make any final changes.  Unfortunately, we have very little confidence or trust in our Ohio representatives on this issue, as most have yet to even consider medical use.

Back to DC, though, it seems that the US Congress is poised to block this legislation even if it passes.  If they do, however, it could finally invoke a federal judicial review of prohibition itself - something the Administration chose to avoid in CO & WA, but may prove inevitable in DC.  The federal government's constitutional authority for prohibition lies in its mandate to "protect the public health and safety."  It would be their legal responsibility to prove that that is what prohibition does, and in this era of cannabis knowledge, we'd really like to see them try.

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