D.C. Council Weakens Bill To Decriminalize MJ
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D.C. Council Weakens Bill To Decriminalize MJ
Posted by CN Staff on February 04, 2014 at 16:08:13 PT
By Aaron C. Davis
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. --  The D.C. Council voted to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of marijuana on Tuesday, but left smoking of marijuana a crime, splintering an effort to have the District join the quarter of U.S. states that have fully decriminalized marijuana.The 11-1 decision by the D.C. Council came as D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray warned that removing the threat of jail time could lead to widespread public smoking of the drug.
Instead, the D.C. Council voted to make possession of the drug a civil offense, akin to a parking ticket, but to keep smoking in public a crime, with a reduced maximum jail sentence of 60 days instead of six months.“I do not want the public smoking of marijuana around my kid — I do not,” said Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), raising his voice to press his point. “I do not want to have to somehow rationalize to her why that’s ok ... and I dare say that I’m not alone as a parent.”In changing the legislation, however, proponents said the council had gutted the bill’s intended effect of protecting low-income African Americans, who according to a recent study account for nine out of 10 arrests for simple marijuana possession, even though blacks account for less than half the city’s population.“I realize that smelling marijuana is offensive to you to and that you wouldn’t want your daughter to ... think that’s okay,” said Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), responding to Mendelson. “But it's also not okay to criminalize a whole segment of our society.”Until recent days, the council had appeared ready to eliminate criminal penalties for possession — currently a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail. It would have reclassified marijuana possession as a civil offense.Under the revised legislation, possession would carry a civil fine of $25. Smoking in public, or on someone else’s property would carry a potential punishment of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.Council members said additional changes to the bill are likely before a final vote next month.According to a recent Washington Post poll, support for legalizing marijuana has expanded dramatically in D.C., with residents who were split evenly on the issue four years ago now favoring allowing possession of small amounts of the drug for personal use by a margin of almost two to one.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author:  Aaron C. DavisPublished: February 4, 2014Copyright: 2014 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on February 05, 2014 at 05:46:11 PT
"Congress deemed marijuana a harmful drug"Deemed is a pretty wishy-washy word to describe such an important decision.Full Definition of DEEM.
transitive verb.
: to come to think or judge : consider evidence was considered? We know from the history that this Congressional decision was made on the basis of incomplete knowledge and meant to be temporary. The science at the time was underdeveloped. Yet, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., and others act as if the decision was engraved in stone and handed down from on high.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 04, 2014 at 17:38:01 PT
News Article from CBS
Congress Debates Obama’s “Schizophrenic” Marijuana PoliciesFebruary 4, 2014A administration official confirmed to Congress on Tuesday that, in spite of President Obama’s recent comments, the administration still opposes state-based efforts to legalize marijuana. The administration has been “consistent in its opposition to attempts to legalize marijuana and other drugs,” Michael Botticelli, the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the House Oversight Committee’s Government Operations subpanel. Congress deemed marijuana a harmful drug under the Controlled Substances Act, he said, and “the Department of Justice’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”The comments follow Mr. Obama’s assertion that it is “important” to let the experiments with legalization in Colorado and Washington state proceed, and that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the subpanel, suggested the president’s attitude may contribute to the growing use of marijuana among adolescents.URL:
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