The Council of the District of Columbia voted today to pass legislation submitted by Mayor Muriel Bowser that bans businesses, “cannabis clubs” and other associations from permitting the private consumption of marijuana.
“District residents didn’t vote last November to bankrupt and incarcerate the owners of businesses where cannabis is consumed,” said Adam Eidinger, who chairs the DC Cannabis Campaign and formally proposed Initiative 71. “The DC Council has blurred the clear line drawn by Initiative 71 between public and private consumption.”
Initiative 71, which legalizes the possession and cultivation of marijuana, became law on February 26, 2015 upon the expiration of a congressional review period. Although DC officials have vowed to uphold Initiative 71, today’s vote restricts the new law by subjecting private events to its prohibition on public consumption. Since Initiative 71 already outlaws any form of remuneration for marijuana (such as “cannabis clubs” that provide marijuana to paid members), advocates say there was no need to further restrict businesses and other associations from allowing private consumption on their premises in compliance with the law.
“It’s unfair most of all to poor people and to families with kids,” added Eidinger. “They deserve an alternative to home consumption that doesn’t threaten to put anyone in jail.”
DC Cannabis Campaign officials say that the DC Council’s vote invalidates an informal agreement not to hold public “smoke-in” style events that have accompanied legalization efforts in other states. The campaign also plans to move forward with a free cannabis seed share event later this month.
The DC Cannabis Campaign is the official campaign committee for Ballot Initiative 71. The campaign is a project of residents from across the District of Columbia, Drug Policy Action, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.