D.C. mayoral candidate calls for decriminalization of marijuana

WASHINGTON – D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells would like to restructure the District’s laws surrounding marijuana.

“Current laws do not work,” says Wells, a mayoral candidate.

He spoke at Community Family Life Services in Northwest Wednesday, announcing new legislation that would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

“We are going to really acknowledge that the war on drugs, in particular marijuana, has worked to criminalize many of our youth,” Wells says.

Under his bill, possessing small amounts of pot would be a mere fine, instead of a misdemeanor. Minors who are caught would be forced to attend a drug awareness program.

Wells says he has the votes to pass the measure.

A recent study by the ACLU shows D.C. leads the nation in per capita pot arrests.

“Our drug laws need to be substantially reformed,” says Seema Sadanandan with the ACLU.

“It is time to end the racially biased and ineffective war on marijuana,” Sadanandan says.

She says in D.C., blacks are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.

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