Tommy Wells‘ marijuana decriminalization bill already has the support of a majority of the D.C. Council. Now Mayor Vince Gray is on board too…pending some changes.
Deputy Attorney General Andrew Fois laid out the executive’s case today. Gray and attorney general Irv Nathan say the bill should be changed so that civil marijuana penalties for minors would be sealed just like criminal offenses. The administration also wants the potential for criminal penalties for smoking in parks or on sidewalks, as well as in drug-free school zones.
The administration also wants the bill to require people caught with marijuana to show identification to police if they have it, lest the city end up with thousands of unpaid tickets for Carlos Danger. Otherwise, Fois says, the city will end up with a situation comparable to its anti-littering law, where only 13 percent of the issued tickets have been paid. But then, for people who think smoking marijuana is as harmless as littering, that may be exactly the point.
From the dais, Marion Barry sounded skeptical about the ID requirement. While the committee won’t decide on whether to add it to the bill today, Barry said that the other members agreed with him that it was a bad idea.
Barry brought his own proposal to the hearing: Why not just allow people to grow a couple plants in their own homes? Fois, unimpressed, said that home grows wouldn’t affect criminal control over marijuana trafficking. He explained his theory with an elaborate analogy about why he doesn’t grow his own basil, opting instead to buy it at a grocery store.
“Most people buy their basil at whatever store they do, and I think that would be the case with marijuana plants as well,” Fois says.
Huh. LL’s no horticulturalist, but even he can see that equating growing a personal pot stash with growing a personal pasta sauce ingredient stash kind of misses the point.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery