You may have heard that recently, Washington D.C. has placed a legislation that reduces the penalty for marijuana possession to just a minor offense, or in other words, just a $25 ticket. Now that may still be a tad off the full legalization of cannabis, but many Washingtonians still felt this as a gateway for the rest of the states across the country to ease their stance against the recreational use of cannabis.
Now, many residents and visitors are happy about the new ruling. In fact, littering in the capital carries a fine that’s three times as high at $75. That itself is a statement strong enough to convey to everyone that the government, if not yet openly yielding to the beneficial effects of marijuana, is at least implying that using one is as less dangerous and disrupting as minor infractions as littering and other offenses.
What the New Law in D.C. Says
Although possessing more than an ounce of marijuana is still a criminal offense, a routine cannabis user would less likely be carrying this much amount, which is equivalent to dozens of marijuana cigarettes. And only drug dealers could run into the danger of such crime, which carries penalties of 6-months maximum jail term and a $1,000 fine.
But then again, the good news is that since Thursday, carrying up to an ounce of marijuana is no longer a serious offense. In addition, medicinal use of marijuana has been legal since 2010. But it is important to take note that selling and using cannabis in public is still a crime, and police officers in the city has begun distributing handouts to clear the common misconceptions that the use of this herb has become legalized.
In other words, you still incur an offense for taking with you small amounts of cannabis, much more if you use it in public. So, an individual can smoke or safely vaporize cannabis but not just in public.
It is also important to take note that marijuana possession is still a federal crime, and if you happen to be in places legally recognized as a federal land such as the Capitol complex and monuments, you could face a maximum jail term of six months and a $5,000 fine. Obviously, Washington has a number of federal lands and the new legislation might result in some conflicts regarding which penalty must supersede the other.
What Happens Now
The new law did not take into effect without much controversy and opposition, of course. It took effect after the 60-day review period, when Congress, by a joint resolution of the House and Senate, could have overruled it. Still, other measures to counter the passing of the law, which includes blocking its funding, has remained unsuccessful, hence the successful enactment on July 17.
Today, Washingtonians are never more aware of their rights and limitations as far as using cannabis goes. But many are positive that this more lenient legislation is just a step toward the ultimate legalization of recreational marijuana use. We can say that today, the city is still in an experimental stage, collecting data that could support or help block the use of marijuana in public. Still, many are already expecting Washington’s Board of Elections to announce whether measures to legalize personal possession and cultivation of marijuana will be on November’s ballots.
After all, many residents are in favor of legalizing the use of this herb. For one, doing so would maximize its medicinal use even without the more complicated process of acquiring prescriptions. Also, this would help the police focus on the more pressing crimes instead of putting individuals in jail for possessing or using cannabis, which has been proven to be safer than alcohol.
A Few Challenges
For law enforcement officers, the new law may pose some difficulties or challenging cases to handle. For one, the smell of marijuana in a driver’s vehicle is no longer considered an evidence of a crime, unless of course the police officer believes the person in questions is driving under its influence. So, the likely solution would be added training for the police officers to help them handle such new cases before they even make arrests.
Here at Smokazon.com, we highly support the movement to legalize the use of marijuana for medical and recreational use. Enough evidence has emerged that proves the safe use of this herb over alcohol. However, we encourage our customers to respect their local laws in terms of using your favorite portable or pen-style vaporizers in public. After all, what we want you to experience is that vaping experience that’s uninterrupted as it is perfect with the quality of vaporizers we offer.