A Washington D.C. city council committee approved a bill last week that would remove criminal consequences for anyone possessing small amounts of marijuana. The proposal would impose only a civil fine for possession of an ounce or less of the substance.
The Washington D.C. public safety committee sent the full city council the proposal after a unanimous vote. The proposed measure would change a small possession of marijuana from a criminal violation to a civil violation. It would still be subject to a small fine, as low as $25, as well as confiscation of the substance.
Currently within D.C. it is illegal to possess any amount of marijuana. A person found to be in possession could face up to six months in jail along with a $1,000 fine. There is an exception made for medicinal purposes.
It would still be a crime to smoke marijuana in public places, punishable with a fine up to $100 as well as a crime to sell any amount of marijuana. The council is expected to cast a vote February 4. The proposal then would have to have a 30-day review by Congress before it could be enacted.