Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray inked a deal with the stoners in our nation’s capital earlier this week; signing a bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana. Now, instead of marijuana users being manhandled and imprisoned for holding small amounts of weed, police will only be given the authority to write those in possession of up to an ounce a measly $25 ticket.
While this measure is certainly not perfect politics in action, most supporters agree it is a significant step above the previous pothead penalties of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The District of Columbia has been considered the marijuana misdemeanor capital of America, as authorities there are responsible for more busts for pot possession than any other part of the United States.
Fortunately, that is all about to change, but there is a minor roadblock. It is written in District law that any measure passed must receive final approval from Uncle Sam’s henchmen in the House of Representatives. Congress will have 60 days to review the newfound decriminalization law and make a decision on whether to choke it out or give it to the people.
There is little doubt the law will meet resistance. Republican Speaker John Boehner has said the House will “look” at the measure, but has given no indication of plans to snuff it out from the top. District Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she feels confident the House will allow the law to be unleashed.
“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 DC’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization," she said. "If members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend DC’s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done.”
Incidentally, Congress has only interfered with District laws three times in the past 40 years.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.