WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Bill To Legalize, Tax Marijuana Introduced In D.C. Council

Marijuana activists are pushing for a system where marijuana would be taxed by the District.
Marijuana activists are pushing for a system where marijuana would be taxed by the District.

A bill that would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana as well as regulating its licensure and sale was formally introduced to the D.C. Council on Tuesday by Councilman David Grosso (I-At Large).

As discussed last week, the legislation would remove all penalties for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and over. It would also authorize the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to license businesses to produce, process and sell marijuana. A 15 percent excise tax would be levied on its sale to go towards substance-abuse prevention programs.

Similar laws were passed in Washington and Colorado in 2012, and they will begin issuing licenses later this year.

The issue has gained attention because of the high rates of arrest for marijuana possession in the District.

Earlier this year, a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana was introduced by Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Marion Barry (Ward 8). The city's first medical marijuana dispensary opened this summer.

"Marijuana prohibition has been a disastrous public policy failure," says Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. "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."

If the D.C. Council balks on this proposed legislation, activists plan to put the issue on the ballot as soon as next year.

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.