The first step towards legislation is decriminalisation. Many places in the world are moving officially to this point.
Washington DC is the next in line.
It took nearly 15 years after voters approved medical marijuana for it to become available in Washington, D.C., but the next major change to pot laws in the U.S. capital is on the fast track.
The D.C. Council is poised to approve a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, and Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray announced last month that he supports it. He could sign the bill into law as early as January.
Some activists want the city to go further by legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana as Colorado and Washington state do, and they’re considering a ballot initiative if the council doesn’t take that step.
It’s a big change from a year ago, when there was no medical marijuana in the capital and elected officials weren’t talking about relaxing recreational pot laws. Now, there are three tightly regulated marijuana dispensaries in the city, although there aren’t many patients yet.
City leaders have long been cautious about pot, in part because Congress has the final say on what’s legal in the district. But with 17 states having some form of decriminalization and the Justice Department taking a hands-off approach to legalization in Colorado and Washington state, city leaders think Congress won’t be interested in fighting that battle.
“What the states do would not matter if there were serious interest in the subject” on Capitol Hill, said Delaware. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the district in Congress.
“I don’t think there’s a serious interest in the subject.” Read more »