Washington DC City Council member David Grosso will submit a recreational legalization measure before city leaders September 17 when the council returns from summer recess.
Grosso's plan, which is similar to laws passed in Colorado last year, would legalize and regulate the sale, cultivation and possession of limited amounts of cannabis in the nation's capital. The announcement comes on the heels of a decriminalization measure proposed in June that would make an ounce or less a $100 fine instead of a criminal offense has ten of the 13 council member's support.
Grosso's announcement, which has joined increasing legalization chatter among citizens and city governments nationwide, details a bill that would outline a tax and regulatory scheme for marijuana sales, allow residents to grow small amounts of the drug on their property, and establish licensing and enforcement requirements to be handled by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
Currently, possession of any amount is a criminal misdemeanor charge in DC with up to six months incarceration and $1,000 in fines. Cultivation and distribution are both unclassified criminal offenses with between six months and five years in jail and $1,000 to $50,000 in fines.
“I’m not holding my breath this year, but I’m hoping to get the debate out there,” Mr. Grosso, at-large independent, told the Washington Times. “If we’re going to have alcohol legal in this country, I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t have marijuana legal.”