Medical marijuana has been allowed in D.C. for almost 20 years. It was in 1998 when the Initiative 59, a ballot initiative that was acknowledged by the voters, was approved. The Initiative 59 approved the use of marijuana for health-related purposes in the District of Columbia. Therefore, Initiative 59 is also called, “Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998.”
On the other hand, the Initiative 71 is known as the “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use.” It is a ballot initiative that was approved in 2014 for the recreational use of marijuana. However, this approval comes with a lot of restrictions. The majority of these limitations are due to the conflicting policies between the federal and the state laws.
Currently, Initiative 71 only allows people who are 21 years old or older to consume marijuana. Individuals who are below 21 years are not authorized to use the weed recreationally. Furthermore, there is also some restriction on how much marijuana an individual can possess. Adults are not allowed to sell more than 1oz of marijuana to other adults. However, they are authorized to sell the paraphernalia to other individuals.
The future of marijuana is uncertain because of the conflicting views of the people, politicians, and the state and federal laws. Supporters and oppositions have different opinions and forecasts about recreational marijuana legalization in D.C.
Contrary Views and Forecast
Initiative 71 has prompted some issues on Maryland and Capitol government bodies. The U.S. Representative Andy Harris wishes that the federal state must implement the national policies, irrespective of state residents trying to legalize the cannabis. He would like to utilize all the means that are accessible to a person of the Congress to counteract the Initiative 71.
Harris and the other Initiative oppositions believe that the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana can increase the drug use among teens.
Positive Views and Forecasts
Some advocates, especially in Maryland, believe that marijuana is not as harmful as tobacco or alcohol. In fact, they believe that the legalization of marijuana in D.C. might help their motive to legalize recreational marijuana in their state. Additionally, the supporters think that the legalization of marijuana will lessen the number of imprisonments due to marijuana prohibition.
The Washington’s mayor Muriel Bowser supports Initiative 71, although she admitted that she wanted the law to be consistent before the implementation. According to her, she is making some plans how marijuana would be sold legally.
According to the head of MCPA, Havre de Grace, the legalization of Initiative 71 in Washington may have a direct effect on Maryland.
Maryland shifted to a gentler position concerning marijuana by enforcing a legislation eliminating criminal charges of obtaining as much as 10g of marijuana. However, the punishments for possessions of marijuana paraphernalia along with criminal penalties for possessing more than 10g of marijuana are still the same.
Some lawyers have investigated the recent legislation as an advantage for a liberated policy on cannabis. According to John McCarthy, an attorney from Montgomery, he wants to consider the ownership of a significant amount of cannabis only as a civil offense if it’s just for private recreational consumption.
Some marijuana supporters, like Blumenauer, believe that the lawmakers will undertake numerous problems that annoy cannabis companies lately. These issues include the absence of accessibility to the federal banks and being unable to have the same tax regulations that the other traditional companies have.
Blumenauer believes that the federal laws concerning cannabis must be improved to lessen the frustration, doubt, and inconsistency of the government’s main concerns. Presently, the marijuana policies in Washington are still unclear due to the hazy structure for taxing or selling weeds. Besides, there are conflicting marijuana policies in federal and state laws.