Washington DC Voters Poised to Pull Penalties for Marijuana Possession
A poll recently taken by Marist/NBC News/Washington Post says that 65 percent of Washington DC’s registered voters are in support of Initiative 71 appearing on the ballot this November. What exactly is this initiative?
Initiative Measure 71 would make it lawful for someone aged 21+ to possess minimal amounts (up to two ounces) of marijuana for personal use, and would remove all criminal and civil penalties for anyone over the age of 21 that wants to grow up to six marijuana plants.
Though the Initiative does not allow for a commercial market for marijuana as in Colorado and Washington, it seems the general public has no qualms about someone participating in a growing marijuana revolution.
Though there is such obvious support, the editors who published the poll said:
“[I]t would be prudent for the District not to make a change that could well prove to be misguided until more is known (about the effects of marijuana).”
There are already thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the benefits of marijuana, though, and while there are risks associated with its use as well, they are minimal compared to its ability to aid in treating diseases ranging from cancer, multiple sclerosis, autism, and neuropathic pain. Ignoring this plant would be tantamount to watching people needlessly suffer.
Along with DC voters, most Americans agree that cannabis used in moderation can be extremely beneficial.
Members of the DC City Council still have the ability to amend any voter-approved changes to I-71, and Congress could also potentially halt the law’s implementation since all Federal lawmakers can override implementation of District laws.
The first step has been taken, though. This past spring, DC city council members approved legislation reducing minor marijuana possession offenses in the District to a $25 civil fine. Ironically, DC residents were being arrested for pot possession more than residents in any other state of the U.S.
We are undoubtedly moving toward nation-wide marijuana legalization, it is simply a question of when this will happen. With each passing year, more states accept marijuana as a legal right and as a medicinal treasure, and the people are making this change happen.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.