Loose Lips

Gray Wants Changes to Marijuana Bill

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

  • http://masrizone.blogspot.com Allan Masri

    A bill to decriminalize marijuana that lets police continue business as usual, busting people who smoke in public, ceases to be a useful bill. Those who are really interested in change should get behind the bill to legalize marijuana and set up retail outlets in the city. Suddenly, all the enforcement problems go away. The police will have to find some other way to harass our citizens.

  • Wrack

    Smoking pot is far less harmful than littering. Littering is good for nothing.

  • Storm Crow

    There is a small difference between buying basil and buying an equal amount of cannabis- dried basil does not cost $15 a gram! I'm 66, and living in California. I grow my own for some very real medical reasons. I have a "very well-lit closet" that supplies my disabled husband and myself for about $35 per month (lit with big CFLs). Also, just like with tomatoes (which I also grow), home-grow is simply better quality! Cannabis is easy to grow and more than pays for the initial investment and following monthly power bills. Growing will be far more popular than Mr Fois believes! Why pay $15 per gram when you can grow for pennies?

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