Loose Lips

Wells, Mendelson Set to Clash Over Decriminalization Bill

Ward 6 councilmember and mayoral hopeful Tommy Wells' marijuana decriminalization bill has enjoyed an easy ride through the D.C. Council so far, but that could change at tomorrow's Council meeting. Chairman Phil Mendelson has prepared an amendment that, if it's passed, could cause Wells to stop supporting his own bill.

Mendelson's amendment would leave smoking marijuana in public as a misdemeanor offense, according to Mendelson chief of staff Denise Tolliver. The current language in Wells' bill would make smoking the drug in public subject to a $100 fine.

Wells, who says it'd be "embarrassing" to vote for a bill that leaves getting high in public a crime, says he could be forced to oppose his legislation if Mendelson's amendment succeeds. Mendelson's position as Council chair makes it easier for him to sway other councilmembers to back his change to the bill, Wells says.

Mendelson's amendment aims to put smoking marijuana in public on par with an open container offense, but Wells says it's unfair to compare the two because of the different effects they have on the body. The friendly herb, Wells says, is exactly that.

“From what I understand, it has a mellowing effect," Wells says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Ward 4 Resident

    Both these men are liberal idiots!

  • Driving?

    Just curious... is the Council considering making it a crime to drive while under the influence of marijuana? I would think it should be, but I haven't heard that in the coverage or been able to read the actual proposed bill.

  • Remi

    Phil is a weak elected official. DC deserves better.

  • tntdc

    Driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol is illegal.

  • Smh

    @Driving? It's already illegal to drive under the influence of any drug!!!

  • DC5

    It's illegal to drive with drugs or their metabolites in your bloodstream, whether you're under the influence or not. You could have used days previously and still be convicted.

  • Chris hauser

    Remember to add to the bill the nickel tax on the nickel bag, unless of course you bring your own earth friendly 100% post consumer reusable renewable not made in third world sweat shops or of petroleum products item which is designed and engineered in micro start up settings by interesting and forward thinking types only.

    Hmmmm, smoking pot in public colliding with drinking in public, who woulda thunk?

    Ah, never mind.

  • DCCommish

    Mendelson is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! PERIOD! DC Councilmebers don't take the bait! It's the right thing to do!

  • Typical DC BS

    Funny how drinking in public is a crime, and the liberal idiots are trying to make smoking tobacco ultimately a crime. Yes, let's not use logic and OK public smoking of weed.

    You want to smoke weed? Fine, do it in your own house or yard. Same issue with drinking in public. Do it on your own property.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Repeal the open container law and Wells will be 100% on board.

  • JimA

    Hurrah for Mendelson for having the guts to take a politically unpopular action. You don't have to agree with this decision to admire Mendo's gutsiness in opposing a popup;at bill.