Washington D.C. moving to make punishments for marijuana possession lighter

Both Washington state and Colorado have legalized recreational use of marijuana, while other states continue to loosen their marijuana laws.
Posted By Aileen Graef  |  Feb. 5, 2014 at 10:12 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Washington D.C. is looking to lighten the punishments for marijuana possession as a small step in loosening marijuana laws. The D.C. council voted to pass a law that would make the punishment for smoking marijuana comparable to a parking ticket.

Tommy Wells, a D.C council member and sponsor of the law, says the aim is to make the law more more fair. He says, "We've had a long period of social and racial injustice related to the War on Drugs, especially when it comes to marijuana. 91 percent of the arrests in D.C. related to small amounts of marijuana are African-Americans and you can't tell me with six universities, not to stereotype, that the only people smoking pot are African American youth."

Activists in D.C. would like to see the full decriminalization of pot rather than just the legalization of medical marijuana, but right now their focus is on reducing jail terms and criminal records for black Americans, especially in the case of juveniles. President Obama also thinks the law unfairly targets minorities and would like to see change.

Despite the loosening of the law, it is still illegal to smoke marijuana in public in the District.


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