Washington DC Council Bans Marijuana Clubs
Top Story – Washington DC Council Bans Marijuana Clubs
WASHINGTON, DC (MPP) — The D.C. Council today again reversed its position on a law banning the consumption of marijuana anywhere outside a private home, even though it is legal for adults to use and possess up to two ounces of marijuana in the District. By voting 7-6 today in favor of B21-107, which would make the “social use ban” permanent, the council ignored its own prior decision to make the ban temporary and set up a task force to study the issue. The task force, which the council voted to create on February 2, was intended to study how D.C. could move forward to end the ban and allow marijuana consumption in private venues. Although that bill will not officially become law until April 29, following congressional review, steps have already been taken by the mayor and the council to set up the task force. This is the second unusual reversal by the council. Earlier this year, the council voted to let the ban expire but then reopened the vote and reversed itself after receiving pressure from the mayor. There will be one more vote on the social consumption ban before it is finalized.
WASHINGTON, DC (CRN) – Rather than move forward with the CARERS Act that would assist the states with 21st century marijuana legalization, the Senate held a hearing today to revive old 20th century marijuana reefer madness. The hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control was convened by longtime drug warriors Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to investigate whether the US Justice Department has been lax in enforcing international drug control treaties with respect to the four US states that have legalized cannabis. The DC-based Drug Policy alliance called the hearings a “one-sided prohibitionist party,” featuring testimony an advisory board member of the anti-legalization group Project SAM and Nebraska’s Attorney General who failed to stop Colorado’s legalization at the US Supreme Court. “Our country is in the middle of an epidemic of addiction focused on heroin and prescription opioids,” said Sen. Grassley, adding, “if the Obama Administration is serious about addressing this epidemic, it should stop burying its head in the sand about what’s happening to its enforcement priorities on recreational marijuana.”
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) — Illinois lawmakers rejected a measure that would have required medical marijuana products to carry warning labels about possible side effects. Democrats who opposed the bill Monday argued the labels are unnecessary because doctors already give patients a briefing on what to expect from marijuana before prescribing it. The House Substance Abuse Special Committee rejected the measure on 5-3 vote with only Republicans voting in favor. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Dwight Kay, argued that people who are not medical marijuana users but may come in contact with it should be aware about possible side-effects like dizziness, impaired thought, or delirium. Medical marijuana sales began in Illinois in November under a 4-year pilot program.
URBANA, IL (AP) – The Urbana City Council has approved an ordinance to lower the fine for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana from $300 to $50. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that the council approved the ordinance last week at a committee-of-the-whole meeting after two amendments failed to get enough support. Members of the public praised the council for making the change in an effort to address the disparate impact of such fines between black and white people. But activist Martel Miller argued that the ordinance won’t change the root of the problem: racial profiling by police. The lowered fine came from a recommendation by the city’s Illinois Department of Transportation Traffic Stop Task Force to place a moratorium on tickets for cannabis possession given out in traffic stops.
PITTSBURGH, PA (CRN) – The Pittsburgh City Council has passed a new depenalization measure for marijuana possession by an 8-1 vote. The new measure does not decriminalize marijuana possession, but rather change it from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. With the change, those adults caught with less than 30 grams of marijuana flower or 8 grams of hashish will be charged with “violating certain defined conduct”. While there will be a criminal record, there will be no mention of “marijuana” or “controlled substance” to be searched for, and the summary can be expunged after five years. This summary offense will not require an arrest or fingerprinting and will result in up to a $100 fine. Officials originally wanted to reduce possession to a civil fine only, but a quirk in Pennsylvania law means only Philadelphia has the power to process such civil fines.