Marijuana legalized by D.C. referendum vote
D.C. residents and stoners, rejoice. The District electorate successfully voted for Initiative 71, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in private.
The bill, which passed with 69.4 percent of the vote, makes it legal for residents over 21 to have up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, grow up to six cannabis plants in their homes, and give (not sell) up to one ounce to another adult.
Initiative 71 was predicted to pass. Washingto Post polls have indicated that the bill was likely to pass with nearly two thirds of the vote. D.C. residents and a legalization campaign have been calling for marijuana reform long before last August, when the D.C. Board of Elections first approved the ballot measure.
Some of the benefits of legalized bud, supporters have argued, include increased tax revenues for the District, and a decrease in racially-biased arrest and incarceration rates for marijuana possession.
Still, weed enthusiasts shouldn’t feel free to light up just yet—D.C. Council members, who have the authority to amend the Initiative, are acting cautiously with its rollout as they develop regulatory and taxation measures. Also, Initiative 71 does not explicitly address the sale of marijuana, though that legislation is expected to be forthcoming within a couple years.
Additionally, Congress could present a buzz-kill for the whole affair. D.C.’s unique status in the American electoral system means that Congress, now led by the GOP in both houses, has the right to veto the measure once it reaches their review process.
Photo: Stephen Stills via Flickr