D.C. moves further toward regulation and taxation of marijuana

Last week on Nov. 25, D.C. councilmembers voted in favor of legislation to regulate and license the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana in the District. Cannabis stores could open as early as 2016 if the Council approves the final round of legislation next spring and Congress does not intervene in the process.

According to a press release, these decisions took place during a meeting chaired by D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange with the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The final decision comes just weeks following a huge turnout of D.C. voters in favor of the new legislation—“Initiative 71”.

The 70% of voters who were in favor of the legalization of the selling and distributing of marijuana was made up of a very diverse group of people, from community organizers to policy reform advocates. Their argument stems from the many arrests that have been made in recent years—leaving the new legislation as a hope that those types of arrests, often including minority profiling, will no longer be prevalent.

The decision has a much bigger impact than allowing adults the opportunity to get a little high. “D.C. lawmakers must act quickly to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition laws that have criminalized tens of thousands and devastated communities of color,” Deputy Director of National Affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance Grant Smith, said. Data supports Smith’s claim noting, 77% of tickets written in the decriminalization of marijuana period have been written in colored communities.

Photo: Cannabis Culture via flickr

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