Residents in the District of Columbia will finally be able to vote on marijuana legalization this November, after election officials voted Wednesday to place the question on the ballot.
The “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014” initiative was introduced. The proposed legislation would allow people 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow no more than six cannabis plants, transfer payments of marijuana (but not sell) and use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use of marijuana.
A 2013 poll by the Public Policy Polling showed that 42 percent of D.C. voters would support a pot legalization policy similar to the ones implemented in Colorado or Washington state, where marijuana is fully legal.
A local activist coalition, the Cannabis Coalition, collected over 57,000 signatures when it qualified for the ballot, even though they only needed 22,600 to qualify for the ballot.
“Because D.C. is such a transient city, we feel the best way for us to increase the number of votes we’ll get is simply to register people to vote,” Adam Eidinger of the Cannabis Coalition said. “Many of them hold off on registering because they feel their vote is wasted here. With marijuana on the ballot, I think it’ll be an opportunity to have a strong effect on people. They’re going to want to vote.”
But not everyone in the District is hopping on the legalization roll.
A House budget bill passed in July included provisions to block a decriminalization bill as well as legalization. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) led the effort to prevent it, arguing that D.C. laws easing restrictions on punishments regarding marijuana were “bad policy.”
If passed, D.C. would be one of the first areas in America to decriminalize pot. Alaska and Oregon will also vote on ballot measures for the legalization of marijuana this November.