Washington D.C. is an interesting arena in the world of marijuana reform. Colorado and Washington have already legalized marijuana, and Alaska might join them in August. Hopefully my home state of Oregon gets in gear and gets legalization on the 2014 ballot and passes it. If so, that would make four legalized states. But I don’t find any of them quite as interesting from a public policy standpoint as I do Washington D.C..
D.C. is not a state. If marijuana reformers there can get legalization on the ballot in 2014, and pass it, it would strike right at the heart of the federal government. Federal politicians would be faced with marijuana legalization in a way that they wouldn’t be able to run from. In my opinion, marijuana legalization in Washington D.C. would be a significant domino. The feds will no doubt try to fight it, and implementation wouldn’t be easy, but it would force the hand of the federal government more than state legalization.
A recent poll was conducted by American University Radio that asked the following question:
The D.C. Council recently voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. But this November, the ballot may contain a referendum question regarding marijuana legalization. The proposal could allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and to grow up to three marijuana plants at home. The city’s Attorney General has opposed this idea, arguing that it would put D.C. at odds with federal drug laws. If you were to vote on the ballot measure today, how would you vote?
49% of respondents stated that they would vote yes, 33% said they would vote no, and 18% stated that they are undecided at this time. The poll was conducted by calling landlines, which obviously skews the numbers. I think that if it’s 49% in support via landlines, the real number is likely quite higher. Go get ’em D.C.!