Washington DC Bill Would Tax and Regulate Marijuana in Nation’s Capital

Bill introduced by Councilmember David Grosso would make marijuana legal in the marijuana arrest capital of the world.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that would remove all penalties for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and over and allow the District to license facilities to produce and sell marijuana has been introduced in the DC Council.

The bill, introduced by Councilmember David Grosso, would also impose an excise tax on wholesale and retail sales of marijuana, earmarking revenue for substance-abuse prevention, research, education, and healthcare. An April poll showed more than 60% of DC voters would approve such a law.

The District, which already has a medical marijuana program with cultivation centers and dispensaries producing and distributing marijuana to authorized medical users, would become the third jurisdiction in the country to make marijuana fully legal and provide for a tightly regulated system to control production and distribution. Voters in Washington and Colorado passed initiatives establishing similar laws in November 2012, and both states are scheduled to begin accepting license applications later this fall.

Statement from Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Marijuana prohibition has been a disastrous public policy failure. The District has the highest marijuana possession arrest rate in the country, with black residents more than eight times as likely to be arrested than whites, even with similar levels of use. Despite spending millions of dollars to make thousands of arrests and ruin countless lives, marijuana is almost universally available. It’s time for a smarter approach.”

“By taxing and regulating marijuana we can take the lucrative market out of the hands of criminals and drug cartels and put it in the hands of tax-paying, law-abiding businesses. More importantly, we can stop arresting adults simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol and focus our law enforcement resources on violent crimes and real threats to public safety,” he concluded.

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