Washington, D.C.'s City Council voted Tuesday to toss out most of the district's punishments for smoking and possessing weed.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he'll sign the plan to make possessing small amounts of marijuana a civil offense, not a criminal one. But smoking weed in public or possessing too much could still get you in trouble. (Via WRC-TV)
“So a $25 fine for possession of an ounce or less, though police would still confiscate the weed and they would still arrest people for smoking it in public or selling it.” (Via WJLA)
Those consequences are a slap on the wrist compared to what they used to be — a criminal offense that carried possible jail time or a $1,000 fine. (Via CNN)
Still, this plan wouldn't go as far as Colorado or Washington, two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana. Tax revenue from the weed market has actually exceeded expectations since Colorado's law went into effect. (Via KXRM)
Back in D.C., there's still some concern that policing the new law could be complicated. The Washington Post writes: “D.C. officers would not be able to arrest someone due to the smell of marijuana: they would have to see the smoke. And being marijuana-impaired in public would not be a crime equal to public intoxication — unless it occurs behind the wheel.”
The bill still faces another council vote before getting Mayor Gray's signature. Oh, and fun fact: the U.S. Congress can actually veto the law, since it's D.C. Though observers say that's highly unlikely because of the whole Washington gridlock thing.