D.C Becomes Legal Today!
Initiative 71 is the ballot initiative approved by 70 percent of residents in Washington D.C. that will allow you to grow up to six plants at home and be in possession of two ounces of marijuana if you are over the age of 21. The initiative will officially go into affect as of 12:01 AM today!
This is a huge success for the district, even after having to go through Congressional review for 30 legislative days. Since January 13th, both the House and Senate deliberated the initiative and were given the ability to block the legalization law if they saw fit. Fortunately, neither chamber felt it necessary to do so. “This is a significant milestone in the movement for racial justice, civil liberties, and drug policy reform,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance.
Legalizing D.C. is expected to pan out the way it has in other states that have legalized. Colorado and Washington both had periods where possession was legal, yet there were no dispensaries. Alaska and Oregon will face similar circumstances. The District is not expecting to see an increase in federal arrests although 20% of it is made up of federal land. The Obama administration supports the right to legalize marijuana and has taken a "hands off" approach towards the matter.
“Marijuana has been effectively legal in the affluent and white parts of the District west of 16th St for years,” stated the director of national affairs for Drug Policy Alliance, Bill Piper. “All Initiative 71 does is treat the black community the same way - no arrests for minor marijuana violations.”
This is a step in the right direction for marijuana to become legal in the nation's capital. Let's hope that the rest of the country follows in the District's footsteps!