You can smoke, but no one can see you do it. You can grow and posess up to two ounces, but no one can you see you do it. You can’t buy, you can’t sell, and in the 30% of the city still governed primarily by our federalis (parks, government buildings, government housing), you can still get arrested for possession. “They’ve created a mishmash of stuff here,” Delroy Burton, D.C. police union chairman told the The Washington Post.

Oh, and the mayor who helped pass the law is being threatened with criminal prosecution for doing it. “You can go to prison for this,” Jason Chaffetz, Utah Representative and chairman of the oversight and government reform committee, told the Post. “We’re not playing a little game here.” And the chairman of the House committee in charge of district affairs also tried a last second intervention yesterday, which failed.

So, basically you can smoke in your house if you grow. How much do you think that’s going to change the way your average district stoner gets their shit or gets high? Not much. And possession of a small amount of weed hasn’t been a criminal offense in D.C. since last summer.

Then what do this new law matter? Well, it sets a precedent. It’s voice joining into the song of legalization that the rest of the nation is dancing to. “If Washington, D.C., can legalize marijuana and the sky doesn’t fall, things will get a lot easier in these other states,” says Keith Stroup, a NORML legal counsel. “The nation’s capital has an exaggerated impact.”

So, just like the legalization laws in most of the rest of the country, D.C.’s new legislation is flawed and more like a symbol of progress than concrete evidence of it. But at least for now the Mayor isn’t going to jail and if you’re in the district today you can warm up from the cold with a little Kush and start that grow operation you’ve been daydreaming about.

Parker Winship
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