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Could DC Marijuana Vote Allow Congress, President Obama to Legally Light Up?

Pass it on: a new kind of madness might soon hit the capital.

Activists will try to put marijuana legalization on DC ballots. Patch file photo
Activists will try to put marijuana legalization on DC ballots. Patch file photo

By Todd Richissin

With the way things move in the nation's capital, maybe elected officials have already been smoking marijuana in pretty large quantities. A potential vote could make it legal.

Local officials in the District of Columbia have already taken a giant step in the direction of legalizing weed, voting Wednesday to advance legislation that would do away with jail time and reduce fines to a token $25 fine for marijuana possession.

The full district council will begin deliberation next week on the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014,” which is expected to pass.

Support for legalizing marijuana has expanded dramatically in the nation’s capital, according to a Washington Post poll released Wednesday. Just four years ago, residents were evenly split. Now, the Post reported, residents favor decriminalization by about 2-1.

“We are moving towards a new day when it comes to marijuana regulation,” Council member David P. Grosso told the paper. 

Murial Bowser, a council member and mayoral candidate who endorsed the plan, told the Post fully legal and taxable marijuana sales are inevitable.

“If it’s not a crime to possess it, where then are people buying it?,” Bowser said. “Dealing with how people can procure this decriminalized marijuana has to be the second step.”

That could come in November, activists for legalizing marijuana are seeking to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana by putting the question to voters.

One note to the president and Congress: Careful where you toke, even if DC legalizes pot. It would still be illegal on the Mall and other federal properties in the District, punishable by up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

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