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DC Council considers decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana

10:15 PM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- D.C. Council members invite the public to testify on a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. The hearing will be held Wednesday at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library.

Currently, if you're caught with less than an ounce of pot in D.C. then it's a misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to 6 months in prison. This bill would drop that offense to just a civil penalty, like a speeding ticket, with only a $100 fine.

Opponents argue that, if passed, this decriminalization would contradict federal laws and cause problems for the District. Others say it would only encourage the city's youth to smoke more pot. But supporters say this bill is intended to help young people to make it so that if you get caught with a small amount of pot that it won't keep you from getting a job in the future.

At least 8 DC council members support this legislation, including DC Councilman At-Large David Grosso. He's going a step further, saying he wants full legalization.

Grosso spoke to WUSA 9's Derek McGinty, who asked, "Councilman, do you smoke marijuana?"

Grosso replied, "I do not."

"Would you smoke it if it was legal?" asked McGinty.

"If it was legalized I would. I drink beer occasionally now so I don't see why not. The reality is you have to determine whether or not it's good for you or whether or not you want to do it and regulate it properly," answered Grosso.

Councilman Gross has introduced his own bill that would legalize the use of pot for all adults over 21. He has the backing of a majority of Americans: a new Gallop poll finds for the first time ever that the majority of Americans now say pot should be legal.

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