Today marks the one year anniversary of Washington DC’s marijuana decriminalization efforts. Last Feb 25, legislation was passed that allowed adults in the District to carry up to two ounces on their person and grow up to six plants at home.
This caused a drop in all marijuana related arrests of 85 percent and marijuana possession arrests of 98 percent respectively.
Keeping with national trends, marijuana arrests and convictions were racially disproportionate, with data showing that as of 2013, African American residents were 8 times more likely to be arrested than White residents, even though the use and sale of pot was relatively equal across the races.
That thousands of people have been spared entry into the criminal justice system as a result of the legislation goes without saying, as District police have adhered to the people’s demands to turn their attention and efforts to more productive issues.
However, even with such good news, there is a drawback. Current laws prohibit DC from actually legalizing the tax and sale of marijuana and even when they tried to do so, Congress denied it. The Federal government has final say in District matters. As of now, it is legal to grow and possess, but not sell, hampering efforts by the city to build revenue and rebuild the parts most directly suffering from the failed War on Drugs.
Read the full article here.
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