DC moving closer to decriminalizing marijuana - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC moving closer to decriminalizing marijuana

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Under current law in the District, getting caught with small amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime. First-time offenders face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

At the Anacostia Neighborhood Library, a crowd of residents packed into a room to say yea or nay to making possession of less than one ounce of pot a civil offense, not a criminal one.

The proposed bill would lower the fine to $100 and calls for drug education of offenders.

Council Judiciary Committee Chairman Tommy Wells and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry drafted the legislation and called the public hearing.

Barry said he thinks the time is right for passage, especially since thousands of young black men are being arrested for possession of small amounts of pot and getting slapped with a criminal record the rest of their lives.

Opponents said decriminalization would open the door to legalization. There is almost no opposition to the bill on the city council.

Asked about his position Wednesday, Mayor Vincent Gray said, "I'm still smoking it over..." then went on to say he supports decriminalizing marijuana, but that legalizing it is another issue.

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