A D.C. Council hearing earlier this week revealed that a proposed bill to decriminalize marijuana has gained more followers. The bill, drafted by Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells and Ward 8 representative Marion Barry, would reduce the penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $100 fine and legalize weed-smoking gadgets. It scored nine more fans on Wednesday, which could mean that a Council majority for the vote on the bill might be unavoidable.
The bill gained another friend in D.C.'s NAACP chapter. Last month, the ACLU conducted a study which found, unsurprisingly, that D.C.'s African-American population has a much greater chance of getting arrested for marijuana possession than white residents.
One opponent of the bill is D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. On Wednesday, she released a statement requesting a "robust discussion" on the bill because it could put children at risk and violate federal law. Ward 7's Yvette Alexander is also against the bill, saying "if it's illegal, keep it against the law."
Decriminalization doesn't mean that lighting a blunt on the White House lawn will be a reality, but it will prevent police resources (mainly time and money) from being wasted.