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D.C. Council OKs Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

WI Web Staff | 3/4/2014, 3:08 p.m. | Updated on 3/4/2014, 4:55 p.m.
The D.C. Council approved a bill Tuesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the city.

The D.C. Council approved a bill Tuesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the city.

The Council OK'd the legislation with a 10-1 vote. Upon Mayor Vincent Gray's signature, possession of an ounce of marijuana or less will be punishable by a $25 civil fine, but will not be a criminal offense.

It will still be illegal to smoke in public, but the bill lowers the maximum penalty to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Currently, violators face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The District joins 17 other states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana in some form.

"In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect members of Congress to interfere with D.C.ā€™s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization," said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). "If members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend D.C.'s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done."