The city council of the District of Columbia voted to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, replacing jail terms with civil fines for small amount of pot. Actual smoking of the herb, however, would still be considered a misdemeanor.
Mayor Vincent Gray says he will sign the measure to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, but stresses it’s still illegal to grow, sell, own, or use the controversial drug. Congress can still veto the measure, but the move is unlikely, given the imbalance of power in the state chamber.
According to the new measure, an ounce of weed can cost up to $25 in fine, while public smoking will result in six months of jail time and a $500 fine. The legislation passed the voting stages 10-1, taking cues from Colorado and Washington State.
Another reason for the measure legislators say is the use of the crime to racially profile African-Americans. According to a member of the Drug Policy Alliance Grant Smith, people of color have been unfairly arrested and marginalized based on marijuana possession.
The measure is a step towards ending the selective enforcement of the law.