Decriminalization Bill Introduced in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Tommy Wells (D – Ward 6) proposed a bill today that would decriminalize marijuana in the nation’s capital. Possession of up to an ounce would be punishable by a civil fine of $100 rather than by the current threat of jail time. The bill was also backed by Marion Barry (D – Ward 8).

WellsTommy wells told reporters that decriminalization would save youths who are caught with small amounts of marijuana from becoming entangled in the criminal justice system and losing out on future employment opportunities.

The bill has arrived at an interesting time for marijuana reform advocates. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report which found that D.C. leads the nation in marijuana possession arrests per capita. The study also found that arrests in the District were racially biased: African Americans were eight times more likely than whites to be arrested on marijuana charges. According to D.C. police statistics, there were roughly 4,300 marijuana possession arrests in 2011.

Surveys indicate that a majority of D.C. residents agree with Wells’ proposal. An April poll by Public Policy Polling found that 75% of D.C. residents support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Additionally, 63% support taxing and regulating marijuana for adults.

MPP spokesman Morgan Fox was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying, “It is time to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy in our nation’s capital, and that is what Councilman Wells has proposed.”

5 thoughts on “Decriminalization Bill Introduced in Washington, D.C.”

  1. Whereas;
    Rights do not flow from government, they exist in spite of governance and are not
    predicated on citizenship within any governmental jurisdiction.

    Whereas;
    Unalienable is that which cannot be GIVEN away, a right is that which cannot be TAKEN away.
    Past generations of citizens and their elected officials have no authority to deprive current or future generations of rights not yet enumerated!

    Whereas;
    The “War on Drugs” is beyond undue imposition to the point of a crime against humanity.
    Will the war on people who choose by free will to alter their body chemistry with natural substances be over when there are 4, 6 or 12 million Americans in prison, dying of AIDS, TB, violence or old age?

    The Nazi’s used the war on Jews as an excuse to build a police state.
    The federal, state, county and city governments are using the war on drugs as an excuse to build a police state.

    Whereas;
    The Ninth Amendment clearly states…

    ‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights,
    shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.’

    Therefore;
    It is the Right of the People to control the chemistry, mind altering or not, of one’s own body.
    The right to posses, share, cultivate, distribute & engage in commerce of any and all natural substances.
    As-well as the right to free, impartial information on all substances this right may refer.
    This right shall exist without the undue imposition of law or administrative order.

  2. Please, please, please….
    Reconsider this so called “war on drugs”.
    I’ve yet to see one drug be sentenced to death. Nor have i seen a drug charged and sentenced to time in prison.
    While the drugs we declared war on, still run the streets, those who use them, from the periodic partaker, to the heroin junkie who, if he doesn’t get his fix soon, could die in the throes of physical withdrawal, exist lost between numerous worlds. One where their addiction could land them in jail or prison, where the untold suffering is aggravated by fellow prisoners and a COMPLETE lack of medical care to help one through such horror.
    A world whete help comes in the form of 12 step meetings and doctor’s apptmts.
    If we as a society could begin to see that drugs are here and will be for a long time to come, we can start to see the people whose lives are out of control because of them, are victims first, and only after time has passed, do they become offenders in any way.
    If you want to fight a “war on drugs” and not lose all respect from the people you’re claiming to be looking out for, you need to offer HELP to the users, and not just once! Drug traffickers are on their own. Theyre only addiction is greed.

  3. I support the decriminalization Bill introduced in Washington D.C. prohibiting arrest/imprisonment for small amount of marijuana. We must reform this law, realizing there are a variable of components to the positive effect of medical marijuana. As someone who benefits from the positive effects that marijuana can have on people with various illnesses , from every walk of life; to not allow it’s use is a gross injustice to the masses who benefit greatly from this natural substance. I fully support de criminalizing marijuana use in every state. It is a senseless, shameless waste of tax payers dollars to over crowd our jails with people who are caught with as little as one marijuana joint. Time would be better spent going after real criminals. kudos D.C. ~!! Let’s make this a national campaign to end the senseless arrests/imprisonment for marijuana use. Louisiana; catch up~!!

  4. As stated above, there are patients that suffer from cancer, ra, autism, fibromyalgia, PTSD, to name a few, that take prescription medication and the side effects are no better than effects of the illness. How sad is this that we have a naturally produced plant that hold so many beneficial compounds yet out of fear of arrest the benefits are being forgone by law abiding citizens. Cancer patients are dying with no options but Oxycontin for pain and the side effects are unbearable….constipation, shallow breathing, slow heartbeat; seizure (convulsions); cold, clammy skin; confusion; severe weakness or dizziness; or feeling like you might pass out, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; dizziness, headache, tired feeling; dry mouth; sweating; or itching. None of these side effects are related to cannabis. We the people of America have a right to make decisions in our own healthcare and the care of our loved ones when ill. Contact your legislature; Public Health and Judicial departments, to voice your opinion.

  5. I suffer from Ischemic Heart Disease caused by PTSD. My PTSD has also caused Lichen Simplex Chronicus, an ugly itching, scaly skin condition that causes scars. The only medication I am given to relieve the PTSD I’d Klonopin, an addictive benzodiazepam. I was forced to sign a contract saying if I was tested and any illegal drugs were found in my system, my Klonopin would be denied, thereby putting me in danger of stroke or heart attack and worsening my PTSD and Lichen Simplex Chronicus. The sad thing is if I smoke marijuana, all my stress and triggers and skin disease disappear immediately. All I do is laugh and create art, write a book, create poetry, garden, explore and enjoy life. On the benzo, I mostly sit in my recliner and watch tv or join some stupid social web site full of mean whackos. This is how I have to live at age 70 in the State of Georgia. I’m mad as hell!

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