Washington D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law took effect today. It’s the best marijuana decriminalization law in the country. I am from Oregon, the first state in the country to pass a decriminalization law, and I look at Washington D.C. with envy. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is now punishable by only a $25 fine in Washington D.C..
If/when I visit Washington D.C., I’ll have a joint in one hand, and my $25 in my other hand. It’s worth noting that consuming marijuana in public is still a crime, so don’t try to fire up a bong hit in front of the White House in case you were planning on it. Washington D.C. has had some of the most racially-biased marijuana arrest rates in the nation, so this reform is very much welcomed.
There have been numerous attempts to derail the marijuana decriminalization law from taking effect, led by Congressman Andy Harris from Maryland. Fortunately, those efforts didn’t stop the reform from taking effect today. Even the Obama Administration came out in defense of Washington D.C.’s new law, which was a welcomed surpise to marijuana reform supporters in D.C. and beyond.
Washington D.C. will likely have a chance to vote on full legalization this November during the 2014 Election. I’m assuming opposition will be fierce, and likely led by Andy Harris and other opponents like Kevin Sabet and Project S.A.M.. If you are in the Washington D.C. area, get active and help spread the word. Sign up to be a volunteer, and also make a donation to the campaign if you are able to do so. A legalization victory in D.C. in November would be HUGE.