Due to a technicality, it may soon be impossible to enforce misdemeanor marijuana laws in our nation's capital. As Gawker points out, a law was passed in May that decriminalized pot in the D.C. area, reducing fines of possessing less than an ounce to a minuscule $25. After the bill passed, however, House Rep. Andy Harris amended a bill with the intention of stopping the local policy from going into effect.
In a strange turn of events, however, Harris' amendment is now part of a spending bill will likely be delayed due to a companion bill that needs to pass the Senate. However, the aforementioned D.C. pot law will still go into effect next month. The result would be that D.C. still effectively decriminalizes pot, but loses the funding to enforce the new law:
According to The Washington Post:
If the amendment — which bars the city from spending any funds to “enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution [of marijuana and other drugs] for recreational use” — then takes effect after the decriminalization statute is officially on the books, the city would be in the odd position of having a decriminalization law that it could not enforce.
But the officials familiar with the matter said the amendment could prevent the police department from printing citations, prevent cops from writing and processing them, and prevent the city government from adjudicating them. The upshot is that there might be no penalty for minor marijuana possession, they said.
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