DC One Year Anniversary With Legalized Marijuana

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††DC One Year Anniversary With Legalized Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2016 at 04:36:37 PT
By Kaitlyn Boecker†
Source: Washington Post †

Washington, D.C. -- More than a year has passed since District voters legalized marijuana. On Feb. 26, 2015, it became legal for adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants in their home. As a result, marijuana possession arrests decreased a whopping 98 percent from 2014 to 2015, dropping from 1,840 to just 32. In addition to the massive drop in marijuana possession arrests, it is worth noting that cumulative arrests for all marijuana offenses, including sales, also dropped 85 percent in that time.
This anniversary marks an enormous step forward not only for marijuana reform but also for criminal and racial justice in the District. Marijuana enforcement in the District has historically been racially biased; as recently as 2013 African Americans in the District were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, comprising a shocking 91 percent of possession arrests, even though rates of marijuana use and sales are comparable across racial lines and African Americans comprise roughly half the District population.Tens of thousands of District residents, primarily from communities of color, have suffered life-changing consequences from a marijuana arrest. Residents were routinely arrested by police, locked up and faced subsequent discrimination in employment, housing and education ó all in the name of marijuana prohibition.The Districtís marijuana reforms have already saved thousands of people from facing the same obstacles, as marijuana arrests have plummeted since the implementation of D.C.ís 2014 marijuana decriminalization law, and the further-reaching ballot initiative later that year. From 2010 to 2015 marijuana arrests have dropped over 92 percent Ė arrests for possession fell by 99.2 percent, arrests for possession with intent to distribute were down 85.5 percent and distribution arrests decreased by 71.8 percent. This reflects the local police departmentís response to the desire of District residents to focus limited law enforcement resources elsewhere.Reducing the disproportionate effect of the war on drugs on the African American community was a primary goal of the campaign to legalize marijuana in the District. Ballot Initiative 71 sought to remove marijuana from the local criminal justice system and was seen as a first step to restore the communities most harmed by prohibition. The drop in marijuana arrests is a triumph for advocates and residents alike.Unfortunately, additional restorative justice reforms have been slower to follow. District laws prevent ballot initiatives from taxing or spending, thereby prohibiting the legalization initiative from establishing a regulatory regime for marijuana. The D.C. Council was expected to adopt such legislation, but was prevented from doing so by Congress.In late 2014, Congress blocked District lawmakers from using locally raised public funds to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and enact other reforms. Thus, it is legal to possess, use and grow marijuana in the nationís capital but the sale of marijuana remains illicit and unregulated.This lack of a full regulatory regime has left potential benefits out of reach and problems unsolved. District lawmakers should work around congressional prohibitions and use reserve funds to move ahead with establishing taxation and regulation of marijuana sales, a strategy 66 percent of residents support.By taxing marijuana, the District could earn revenue to fund treatment, education and investment in communities devastated by the failed war on drugs.District lawmakers should prohibit discrimination because of legal marijuana use (including employment and child custody), establish safe locations for consumption of marijuana beyond a private residence and make public consumption a citation instead of an arrestable offense.One year into marijuana legalization, the District has benefited tremendously, but much work remains to repair decades of destructive drug war policies.Kaitlyn Boecker is a policy associate with the Drug Policy Alliance and a resident of the District.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Kaitlyn BoeckerPublished: February 25, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #17 posted by FoM on March 03, 2016 at 11:47:55 PT
I can't vote for Hillary. She is more a Republican then a Democrat and she is a war monger. I will stay home and let what happens happen and tune out and watch anything but news on TV.
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Comment #16 posted by runruff on March 03, 2016 at 07:25:34 PT
I am not a crook...
And I don't vote for crooks. What am I, stupid?Hillary, I read your bio and your mile long court records and indictments and accusations. I know Web Hubble is Chelsea's real Dad and I have read first hand reports about your pathological lying and your volitile temper tantrums. I'd sooner vote for Punxsutawney, at least he tells the truth half the time and he's better looking!
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on March 03, 2016 at 05:20:25 PT
Thank you for voting for Bernie. I cannot bring myself to vote for Clinton. I think there would be a better chance with Trump and that man is horrible. I am going to miss Obama so much. 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on March 02, 2016 at 21:45:58 PT
I voted for Bernie.
I can't and won't vote for the Clinton's again.If I vote, and I always have, I will vote Libertarian for President. I think Governor Johnson might have his hat in the ring for the Libertarian candidacy. If he does win the Libertarian nomination, I certainly will make a special point of getting out to vote for him. I
Ike him I think he would be a good president and he's always been on our side about the cannabis issue.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 02, 2016 at 12:48:33 PT
I love Bernie and will probably sit it our rather then vote for Hillary. I really dislike her and Trump would probably beat her anyway.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on March 02, 2016 at 08:19:47 PT
interesting, CO and VT both really like Bernie! I wonder if the mountains do something to clear peoples' minds of propaganda???
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Comment #11 posted by The GCW on March 01, 2016 at 20:57:32 PT
Sam Adams,
I voted for Bernie too. Summit County, Colorado. In My 19th precinct He won 5 delegates to Clinton's 1 delegate. Looks like Colorado wants Bernie. He's pretty much the winner although they're still counting... Bernie 58%, Clinton 40%, with 47% of votes counted.
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on March 01, 2016 at 17:08:18 PT
Voted for Bernie today! I saw a few people in Trump t-shirts voting, he inspires passion in a lot of people.  Frightening! Didn't think a sneering bigot could be this popular. Sadly the US contains a lot of dummies! I think he "speaks" to people that are not smart. They "get" him. 
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on March 01, 2016 at 11:45:45 PT
OT - More State Progress - Unanimous House Vote
Virginia nullifies federal cannabis prohibition, legalizes hemp farming
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on February 27, 2016 at 17:39:24 PT

Sam Adams
That super delegate thing is so disturbing. The vote seems to mean little. It's the party way of taking care of their own. I'm dismayed. Dismayed and disillusioned. It's enough to make profanity come to mind.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on February 27, 2016 at 11:30:57 PT

Maine will be the state people visit for herb for the next few years. They already have 2000+ professional medical growers and should have dozens of stores open relatively quickly.  The state has passed friendly pieces of legislation for like 5-6 years in a row, they will embrace the industry more than the other states.Can't believe how close we are to November! What is up with this super-delegate thing, looks like the Clintons are just going to buy the nomination if Bernie wins the primary votes.

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Comment #5 posted by Hope on February 27, 2016 at 10:52:06 PT

Happy Anniversary, DC!
And infinitely more!
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on February 27, 2016 at 08:46:48 PT

John Tyler,
If Vermont RE-legalizes the superplant, I'm thinking of New Hampshire; Live Free or Die.Or go to Vermont rather than not life free or die.
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on February 27, 2016 at 07:29:57 PT

The green mountain state
The green mountain state slogan now takes on new meaning. Tourists from all over the East Coast will be visiting Vermont.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 26, 2016 at 05:27:50 PT

One last step to go in Vermont.
Vermont Senate Votes to Legalize Weed!The Green Mountain State has taken a giant step toward being the first in the region to end pot prohibition. home growing or edibles...But make no mistake! This is a move forward.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 26, 2016 at 05:13:40 PT

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!an enormous step forward... comprising a shocking 91 percent of possession arrests... discrimination... saved thousands...-0-"This reflects the local police departmentís response to the desire of District residents to focus limited law enforcement resources elsewhere."!!!These stats help with understanding why law enforcement agencies and their unions oppose RE-legalizing cannabis; -imagine the job security lost...!!!Sometimes I read African American leaders support cannabis prohibition / oppose ending cannabis prohibition... and they need to know about how ending the farce is a move toward ending discrimination toward minorities.It is My hope that people see this before the next vote for Bernie / Clinton;-for Bernie will help best with ending cannabis prohibition and that means minority populations will be able to move forward. And it's in The Washington, it's in Washington D.C.... BLISTERING 
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