Marijuana advocates in the District have a few friends on the D.C. Council. D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) unveiled a bill Wednesday morning that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to WUSA9.
Under the bill, anyone caught with less than one ounce of marijuana would face a civil penalty of a $100 fine. Under current law, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense; first-time offenders face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
At a press conference, Wells said that the purpose of decriminalization is to save youths caught with marijuana from losing employment opportunities in the future.
“Once you have a marijuana charge on your record, you cannot participate in certainly the construction boom that is happening all over the city, and it works to stigmatize people … and it disadvantages them from jobs,” Wells said, according to The Washington Post.
A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June found that D.C. leads the nation in marijuana possession arrests per capita, with a rate more than three times higher than the national average. The ACLU also found that nationally . . . . . READ MORE
Following ballot measures last November, producing and selling marijuana are now legal in both Colorado and Washington state. Several other U.S. states have decriminalized simple possession of marijuana, or allowed its medical usage. The latter is also the case in Canada.
The financial consequences of a complete and general legalization across the continent would certainly be huge.
Over the past couple of decades, billions of dollars have been spent fighting this unwinnable war, which has fuelled corruption, organized crime, and violence. Thousands of people are killed in drug fights every year in Mexico. In Canada and the U.S., it has justified growing government intrusion in commercial and private life, from the money-laundering bureaucracies to civil forfeiture laws.
Despite this, recreational use of drugs is as popular as ever.
The simple economic fact is that when there is a demand, a supply will be forthcoming — legally or illegally. We should therefore reconcile ourselves with what economists call “consumer sovereignty,” that is, let people consume what they want, and let’s prosecute only real crimes. . . . . READ MORE