Friday Question of the Day – How will you Vote on Initiative No. 71 to Legalize Marijuana?


Another politics question for ya this week. Last month the Post’s Editorial Board wrote:

“With marijuana already decriminalized, there’s no reason for the District to rush the next step; why not at least give Colorado a bit more time to provide lessons?

D.C. voters should vote no on Initiative No. 71 on Nov. 4.”

How will you vote?

168 Comment

  • The smell of pot smoke is absolutely disgusting. I already have to smell it on a daily basis just walking down the streets of DC, I can only imagine what it would be like if it were legal. Time to buy a gas mask!

      • -2, No one in society has any right to be in public places and not be offended, by smell or talk (except in very narrow circumstances, ie no smoking in bars, and certain forms of hate speech).

        Unless you’re in favor of making cigarettes, cigars, all tobacco products and alcohol illegal, your point is pretty null.

        Also, your nostrils seem pretty selfish if you’d rather see the USA imprison 700k citizens a year on pure possession charges alone. I mean, again, unless you’re a fan of America’s very highly accoladed prison reform system, your nostril offense means little to me.

        • +1,000,000,000,000

        • i’m on your side but i don’t think you’ve set out an argument that would change anyones mind

        • +1000000000

        • Yes, thank you for this.

        • “Also, your nostrils seem pretty selfish if you’d rather see the USA imprison 700k citizens a year on pure possession charges alone. I mean, again, unless you’re a fan of America’s very highly accoladed prison reform system, your nostril offense means little to me.”
          Not sure I get your point. Keeping it illegal, but as a civil fine for small amounts, seems to strike a reasonable balance to keep it from being prevalent in public spaces while not imprisoning every user.

          • clevelanddave

            700K are not in prison. 700K arrested maybe. Most first time offenders for personal use are giving probation/fine/counseling.

    • That’s a dumb reason to outlaw something. By that logic, if enough people don’t like curry then I can’t eat it. Besides flavored cigarillos are much nastier than marijuana.

      I imagine it would still be illegal to smoke in public, kind of like drinking.

      • I don’t think that Anonymous 10:44am was commenting on whether or not pot should be legal. He/she seems to be simply stating that pot has a particular odor, and that that odor isn’t the most pleasant.

    • I agree completely. I will also be voting no.

    • It would be better if DC prohibited its use in public, like Colorado. If legalization passes, could we push for that as an amendment?

    • give me a break. i would love to know where these magical, weed smelling streets are!

    • if only there was only a way to ingest thc by not smoking it……..oh wait there is

    • Have you ever been to Denver? Spain? Amsterdam? It’s legal (to varying degrees) in all of those places, and having been to all of them I can assure you that they have not been subsumed in a cloud of weed smoke. I don’t love the smell either, but IME it’s fairly faint unless you are standing within 10 feet of someone who’s actively blazing up. You must be pretty sensitive.

  • I would vote yet….if i have a maryland drivers license can i still vote? I do live in dc and have for three years, just haven’t bothered to get a dc license

    • orderedchaos

      That’s silly — change your residence to DC and pay your taxes like a good citizen, then you can vote.

    • You need to register to vote in the District and you don’t need a license to do so. All you need is proof of DC address which can include a utility bill, paycheck, etc.

      • vz

        This isn’t quite true either. There is no burden of proof for voter registration, and that is a good thing. Just register.

        • I just registered to vote online and I definitely had to submit lots of info and some documentation. According to the DCBOE website:

          Do I need to provide ID?

          To register by mail you must have either a Driver’s license number or a DMV-issued ID number or a social security number. When registering for the first time by mail you will additionally need to include a copy of one of the following:

          A copy of a current and valid government photo identification
          A copy of a current utility bill
          A copy of a current bank statement
          A copy of a current government check
          A copy of a paycheck
          Other government document that shows the name and address of the voter

    • Emmaleigh504

      You don’t have to show ID to vote. Just register with your DC address.

  • Fortunately it feels like marijuana is already legal in my neighborhood. Let’s make it official and stop wasting tax dollars on marijuana smokers!

    • Yep – try hangin in Duke Ellington Plaza at any time of the day if you want to get a contact high. By legalizing, not only would be ending a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, we’d also be setting the stage for bringing in some serious revenue for the city.

  • I don’t smoke but I will vote Yes because, to me, it is a libertarian issue and is not any of my business what people do privately. I just hope Congress doesn’t interfere.

    • Completely agree here!

    • I am fine with people doing it in private but legalizing it will make public use worse. I can’t spend time in my small backyard anymore because ever since City Council said people could smoke on their front porch the house behind me has someone lighting up at nearly 24/7 (I live on a corner where my back door opens to my neighbors front porch)

      • Get a fan.

        • Get a clue.

          • Smoke is a vapor, subject to even the slightest breeze. Correctly positioned fan will take care of any smoke smell, plus mosquitoes. What’s YOUR argument?

          • Actually, no. Smoke is a dense collection of airborne particulate matter that is a proven carcinogen. I have no problem with people doing whatever they want to their own bodies, but keep it indoors. Or, you know, actually get a vaporizer to make your statement factually correct. Legalize possession completely, but keep enforcement of public consumption with steep civil fines.

          • 8:45, it’s not a vapor, it is a fume and a proven carcinogen. its a harmful substance to inhale.

            at least know the pros and cons for your the things you advocate.

          • Still haven’t heard your argument against a fan.

        • Talk to your neighbors..?

          • If Nino asks the neighbors not to smoke on their front porch, do you really think they’re going to say, “Oh, so sorry we were bothering you! We’ll take it indoors”? Be realistic.

          • Let’s be realistic. I think talking to the neighbors will yield better results than complaining about it on a blog.

          • If Nino demands that the neighbors not smoke on the front porch at all, then I agree that may not yield good results. But perhaps Nino and the neighbors can work a time when they don’t smoke out back, or smoke out the front instead of the back. Or maybe Nino spends $40 on a vape and gifts it to the neighbors. Talking to them respectfully and politely (!) is worth a shot, even if it doesn’t work out.

          • LOL…yes, I’ve done that. They offered me some, I explained that I got bored with it after college and they have not changed their habits, and like smokers expect me to a just for them.

          • And even after you explained to them how much more grown up and evolved (but not evolved enough to use a fan) you were than them, they still insisted on lighting up (on their own property)? The nerve of some people!

  • Tourism in DC would skyrocket if weed was legalized and regulated here. People up and down the east coast would flock here non stop and folks would no longer have to go out west to get that “Amsterdam” experience. Besides DC is a better city than Denver or Seattle. Bring it on!!!!! Can’t wait to go into a store or coffee shop and get my fix.

    • i just went to amsterdam this summer, amazing how the city just simply doesnt care at all. Everyone minds their own business, some people smoke, some do not, I dont think you are suppose to smoke outside but no one cares, most people just pop into a coffee shop and pop out. It is fantastic. I also think as more and more states legalize it wouldnt be “as touristy” as a place like amsterdam

      • clevelanddave

        I believe when you went you found out that tourists are no longer allowed to buy pot in the legal pot shops. Amsterdam didn’t like all the misbehaving tourists that were becoming a menace to they have severely restricted the availability of pot, as well as limiting the sale of high THC grows.

        • Ummm no? I was just there a month ago. There is no restriction. You can walk into any coffee shop and buy whatever you want. Have you actually been there?

          • clevelanddave

            From CNN: In the Netherlands all non-medical drugs, to be clear, are illegal…Weed tourism is controversial in some circles and there are worries that lax laws attract …drug traffickers to enter the market.

            Weed aficionados across parts of the world panicked a couple of years ago when a conservative government announced plans to stem drug tourism, partly as a result of friction with neighboring countries. Under the new rules, coffee shops would issue membership cards, Weed Passes, only to local residents. Foreigners would not be able to come to the Netherlands to get high.

            But, as coffee shop owners admit, it’s not the Dutch who are lighting up. Ninety percent of the customers getting buzzed in Amsterdam are foreigners. Amsterdam authorities complained the plan would take a huge financial toll, as millions of visitors every year inhale the offerings of coffee shop menus.

            After a very Dutch debate on the pros and cons of the plan, the government rewrote the law, leaving it up to each city to decide on the rules. Amsterdam scrapped it, while Maastricht, on the border with Germany and Belgium, left the ban in place and imposed fines on coffee shop owners defying the ban on pot sales to foreigners.

    • I would vote yes if it were taxed at a higher rate to offset income tax. Florida has a ‘bed tax’ on all hotel rooms, which offsets income tax revenue, so Floridians don’t have to pay income tax. I would implore DC to do something similar to marijuana distributors – if it ever comes to that!

      • But if we didn’t have to pay income tax, our license plates would be inaccurate. We’d have to change them to something like “No Taxation Because of Cannabization”

      • +1. Tax the hell out of it. I think it is something crazy like 47% in Denver. Then give an income tax break to everyone, not just (insert socio/economic class here).

      • clevelanddave

        If Washington and Colorado are any guide, it will be highly taxed. So highly taxed that it won’t do much to undermine the underground market. And even when highly taxed it won’t pay for all of the costs with maintaining, monitoring and enforcing the “legal” market.

    • ” Besides DC is a better city than Denver or Seattle.”

      Have you even been to Seattle?

  • Absolutely will vote in favor. I don’t condone the public use or abuse of marijuana, but its prohibition has been a shameful waste of billions of tax dollars that has unnecessarily destroyed many lives. Recent studies have also shown that marijuana enforcement has also been completely racist, especially in DC. I recognize that marijuana is not without its dangers, but the most dangerous thing about marijuana by far is its illegality.

    • I’d like to see the studies that indicate that enforcement has been racist. Perhaps there is one group that is more likely to smoke marijuana in public and keep it on their person while walking around. That that group is searched more by police is in itself not a good policy (e.g. like stop and frisk in NYC), but getting caught doing/holding something currently considered illegal is the fault of the person getting caught. I think legalizing will ultimately benefit everyone, but until that day comes it would be best to not do dumb things like carry around illegal drugs.

      • Not hard to find. Here is one example. Breaking up the link so a spam filter doesn’t catch it. http:// reason .com /blog/2013/06/04/the-war-on-pot-is-both-insanely-racist-a

        • The study says that blacks are arrested more than whites for marijuana offenses, regardless of population proportions. This doesn’t explain the “why” part. This is like saying “drunk drivers are more arrested because they are observed driving drunk more often than sober drivers.” It is more likely that white people don’t smoke it outside and aren’t walking around with it in their pockets. You can’t get arrested for using marijuana in public if…you don’t use it in public.

          • And you are basing that assertion on what, exactly? It doesn’t explain the “why” part, so you thought you’d just make something up. Got it.

          • Compare it with any study that shows marijuana use among races. You’ll see there is a clear disparity in enforcement. If your argument is that black people smoke marijuana more, or are out in public with it more, you are wrong. Just get more info.

  • Dave’s not here, man.

  • Why is there not a simple “No” option on this poll?

  • I’d most likely vote yes but LOL at this biased poll. Even the “No” responses are slanted towards the legalization position and doesn’t give people who want it to be criminalized, decriminilize with harsher fines, or some hybrid of the two an option. A simple “No” option with no hedging would have improved this poll, and the conclusions that can be drawn from it, greatly.

  • I was firmly opposed until recently when someone made a useful point:
    legalization should free up the police to focus on other crime.
    I will mull that over until election day.

    • I don’t really think the police are using up their time on marijuana.

      • I don’t know about the District, but many thousands are arrested in other states. That’s not just beat cop resources, but also the cost of processing, trying, incarcerating, monitoring, etc. A quick Google search tells me that, over the last decade, NYPD spent 1 million man hours to make 440,000 marijuana arrests. You might say, that’s NY not DC, so what? But I view DC’s vote in context of the larger debate happening nationwide. The fact is that Congress is gridlocked and won’t do anything substantive on this issue. It’s up the states and DC to do what Congress cannot.

      • Yes, they are.

      • As someone who’s been arrested for smoking in public post-decriminalization, I can tell you that *lots* of cops spent several hours arresting, transporting, and processing me. Then the courts spent several more hours on paperwork. Then the city-appointed attorney spent more time expunging my arrest record after charges were dropped.

    • In my mulling this issue over, I have found an ACLU report (“The War on Marijuana” June 2013) which looked at rate of arrests for marijuana possession. In 2010, the DC arrest rate was 846 per 100,000 people, which is substantially higher than the national rate of 256 per 100,000 people. Additionally, the DC rate is 62% higher than it was in 2001.

      So not only is the MPD is expending time and effort on marijuana, the amount of effort they expend on this issue is rising. Does this affect law enforcement in other areas? I can’t say, but I am pretty sure that neither the number of police officers nor the over MPD budget rose 62% between 2001 and 2010.

      All of this will definitely factor into my thinking about how to vote on legalization.

    • clevelanddave

      Mull over this then: legalization might mean more arrests, not fewer: Still will be illegal for smoking in public; still will be illegal to sell; still will be illegal for most to grow. Illegal to use or to give to minors. There will be plenty more of it out there, so more people to possibly arrest. Plus: it will, and always will be illegal to use and drive, probably to be publically high (if you compare to alcohol), to operate heavy equipment, to work in many jobs (ok not arrested but fired). I could go on, but it may result in more enforcement not less. Not to mention the negative, if not illegal, impact it will have on many adults (particularly combined with alcohol) and on children/young adults.

      • You are high. It will be legal to grow 2 mature plants (6 total), and the ban on selling will be nearly impossible to enforce because you can legally transfer 1 oz to another person.

        • clevelanddave

          No, you are high. Try selling it without a license now or after this law and see how it goes… as far as the other issues go, I’ll assume that you’re just too high to understand the implications and how it might lead to more arrests and violations.

  • why should it be illegal? because it smells bad?

  • I really don’t care if it’s legal or not, but why legalize it if you aren’t going to tax it and gain revenue a la alcohol and tobacco?

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, please, but is the reason that DC can’t pass something that includes taxation or sale because then Congress would be able to veto?

      • Yeah the idea is to ballot initiative to legalize then the DC Council will block implementation until they can come up with commercial rules. They will see lots of tax dollars because of this.

  • The William F. Buckley side of me says we should legalize it.
    The other side of me says, no way. Studies are showing that MJ causes permanent brain alterations, and not for the better. If you have a person already playing with less a stack, why should society give its imprimatur for taking this drug and losing even more mental stability/IQ points.
    Also, laws are designed to protect both the individual and people. Some people go through a stupid period in their lives (especially in their teens and twenties) where they make dumb decisions. Giving people a carte blanche and an especially easy way to obtain and use marijuana seems ill-advised. I also worry about people driving under the influence. We already have enough morons drinking and driving!!

    • People have a right to put what they want into their bodies, why do you care if they are altering their brains for the worse?

      This law is not going to allow the legal selling of marijuana, just the possession, so obtaining it won’t be any easier. There are going to be people driving high on the road whether this law passes or not.

      • It won’t allow the cultivation and sale? That’s terrible. To increase the demand without increasing the supply will place further burden on the people under the control of the cartels. Not fair to push the horrors of our habits on those folks.

      • “People have a right to put what they want into their bodies”

        no they don’t.

        • The very concept of “freedom” is utterly meaningless if the adult individual does not have sovereignty over their own body and mind. We are otherwise just chattel of various governments and law enforcement bodies, all of which are well-populated by control-freak zealots who are strongly opposed to most notions of personal freedom .

          • you’ve not really thought this through in a pragmatic way.

          • Sorry, but being part of a society means you don’t have an absolute right to put whatever you want in your body. When you get addicted to heroin, or meth, or whatever other illegal drug, it doesn’t just affect you. There’s a societal harm, so it’s ridiculous to say that preventing the use of certain substances is rendering “freedom” as meaningless. While the cost of law enforcement and prisons can be a valid criticism, there’s also other costs that we shouldn’t have to bear because you choose to express your freedom and become a heroin addict.

    • Permanent brain alternations? Maybe if you use it while underage, or abuse it every day. A responsible weekend user is unlikely to suffer any real damage (especially if they vape instead of smoke), certainly not more than an equivalent quantity of alcohol. Legalizing has the added benefits of 1) making consumer education more sensible, 2) freeing industry to make unpolluted strains, rather than the lottery of whatever one might buy on the street, and 3) freeing industry to make more or less potent products, so people can better regulate how much they intake. I’m more worried about driving than I am about brain alternations.

    • I don’t know about these studies, but I can tell you my personal experience. I’m in my 50s and started smoking in my teens and have been fairly regular ever since. I went to college and an excellent law school, graduated in the top 3rd of my class, made partner at my firm in five years, and have a very good career. I have a wonderful family life. Maybe if I never smoked pot I’d be president of the United States or a Nobel laureate, but I kind of doubt it. I really believe that it has had no adverse impacts on my brain functioning and has given me much pleasure.

      • Anecdotal evidence doesn’t really stack up against scientific studies.

        • Except that you haven’t actually cited any scientific studies, just asserted that they support your position. This makes your argument pathetic.

        • the scientific studies don’t imply causation – only correlation. Many of the studies simply showed that people with abnormal brain shapes (not even *deformed* brains) were more likely to be daily pot smokers. they have no idea if the relationship is causal. Much the way many people are more prone to addiction, the drug itself doesn’t change their genetic predisposition. I also want to point out that most pot smokers aren’t daily users.

    • :blink:
      Eating junk food alters your brain too. And I guarantee you that the obesity epidemic is costlier to our system in every way – by far – than MJ. So unless you’re also willing to outlaw soda and McD’s, your position makes little sense.

  • I dislike the smell of weed, the effect it has long-term, and the horrors that its production encourages. That said, enforcement is so completely racial that it’s not a drug issue any more, it’s a human rights issue. If it were truly illegal for everyone, I’d vote against it. But since it’s apparently only illegal for black people, I can only vote in favor of removing this excuse for the police to harass along racial lines.
    And, I hope that once it’s legal, it will be grown freely (locally sourced. ha!), so as to weaken the violent cartels that are currently cornering the market. THEN, I want it taxed at the same rate as cigarettes, or higher. Proceeds can go to rehabilitating the morons who use it. Hooray for big government.

  • Legalize it!

  • I hope it’s legalized – I have stock in Frito Lay!

  • I don’t smoke and hate the way it smells, but in my opinion it’s no more destructive than alcohol. I say tax the hell out of it in the same way as cigarettes. Also, I work with young adults, and so many of them are shut out of formal economies and access to federal student financial aid for marijuana possession charges. The more young people in school and with access to meaningful careers the better.

    • Yep, tax the hell out of it. All the recreational users I know who never grew up after college seem to have the money to pay for it. The most important element of legalization would be to reduce the criminal element in the chain.

      • “Who never grew up after college” – If you’re not part of the crowd on a weekly basis, have you walked down 14th street on a late Friday or Saturday night? Pot’s not the only drug that should be a reflection of not growing up after college. It’s absurd that people think if you drink alcohol it’s more “adult” or “refined”. When, in actuality, it’s more “dangerous” and “violence-inducing”.

        But it’s cool OP, I’m sure you drink a lot, because you’re a grown up.

      • “who never grew up after college”? that seems like a stupid statement. You would be incredibly surprised at the number of incredibly successful, thoughtful, upstanding citizens who have all their ducks in a row who smoke weed EVERY SINGLE DAY. Lawyers, doctors, hell, police officers, teachers, etc. it is incredibly shortsighted to think only childish, immature people who never grew up are daily pot smokers.

        • +1. I, for one, am one of them.

        • So marijuana use explains the lack of proper capitalization on here! That’s the part of the brain it affects, I see. You need to stop taking it so personally. If you’re not part of that group, then congrats, you’re capable of keeping it together and getting baked out of your mind. Clearly it has affected your capitalization functions, though.

        • clevelanddave

          Lets hope not. I don’t want the teacher teaching my kids, the police officer arresting criminals, the doctor examining me to be high while doing so. Neither do most people…

          • Surely you acknowledge that there’s a big difference between doing these things in your personal time and being under the influence while on the job?

          • clevelanddave

            I suppose you could have a joint on Friday night and be fine on Monday, but if as the OP says you are smoking it every day, you are probably somewhat incapacitated while on the job.

          • You think that a person would remain impaired for up to 48 hours after smoking? From this and your other comments on this thread, it’s pretty clear that you have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

          • clevelanddave

            Clearly, I do, and you’ve got nothing worthwhile to say, pothead. As far as reading, you seem to have a problem with that too. If you toked up after work, at say 6 pm, that means you’d be driving to work 13 or 14 hours after getting high and seeing patients or whatever a few hours after that, not 48 hours after getting high.

        • Hey man, you got a joint? It’d be a lot cooler if you did.

    • It’s way less destructive than alcohol. Imagine a stadium full of drunks. Now imagine they’re all stoned instead. Where would you rather be?

      Or you can imagine that they’re both and then that might get messy. But still…more food consumed and probably a lot less violent. Maybe even quieter. Not sure where I’m going with this.

      Good day.

      • Your either stoned or drunk, pretty sure that’s where you were going.
        But hey, it’s Friday and the Nats are playing so carry on!

    • Totally agree. The smell of it gives me a headache, but I think it’s ridiculous to turn people into criminals with a permanent charge on their record because of smoking some pot. It’s utterly insane.

    • Alcohol is many many many times more destructive than Cannabis could ever hope to be, in every way we choose to look at it, except for the criminal dimension, which has not a thing to do with the plant itself. There really isn’t any point of comparison between the two substances, beyond them both being psychoactive and having measurable but distinct effects on various physiological systems.

  • So does legalizing it mean that openly smoking it in public would be legal? Well then, I suppose public drinking should also be legal? Good news for the drunks that harass women and lie about passed out in the street.

    People are thinking of how wonderful it will be for them to blaze up whenever and wherever they want, but the reality is that the city needs less of “I want to do what I want” and more of “Let’s do what’s best for the general populace”.

  • Yes. Of course. It’s not a perfect measure but it’s so much better than the status quo. I too don’t want to smell other people’s weed smoke, or any other kind of smoke, but that’s an issue of courtesy and not law.

    Here’s my story on why weed prohibition needs to end:

    I was in a parking lot at a bluegrass festival. My trunk was open and I was filling a day bag. Four cops (with apparently super human vision) came up to me after seeing me move a pipe into the bag. I was busted for possession of 2 grams, a tiny amount, and a pipe. I paid a lawyer $1000, did 40 hours of community service and then got the charge dismissed and expunged from my record.

    Was it worth it to you, the taxpayer, to pay for the cops to bust me and the courts to process my case over three years? Was it worth it to you to give me, a responsible parent and model citizen, a criminal charge which was visible to anyone, including potential employers, lenders, insurers, etc.? Was it worth it to you to weigh my family down with the knowledge that any misstep would have pushed me further into the judicial system?

    There are better ways to deal with peaceful, productive citizens using weed than that.

    • TLDR version: “Here’s my story on why weed prohibition needs to end: _I_ got busted.”

      • Accountering

        Well, I read it, and he is right… The fact he got busted and had to waste the courts, the cops, and his time, is another reason why it should be legalized.

    • And if you hadn’t had the $1000 for the lawyer to get you off with nothing on your record, your life as a productive citizen would have been over. THAT’S why enforcement is screwed up, and the prohibition needs to end.

  • Still don’t know how I’ll vote on this. I don’t think it should be legal, but the real inequity in the effect of the law is very troubling. I’d prefer more of a half measure.

    • I pose a question then: Do you think alcohol should be legal? If your answer is yes, then I dont understand your reluctance to allow pot to be legal. If your answer is no, then I better understand your position. Why as a society are we allowed to say “these chemicals, which have been shown to harm people who use in excess (ie, booze, cigs, fast food, etc) are legal and taxable, but these other groups of chemicals are not.”?

      I understand the argument that we dont want our youth being turned into 12 year old pot heads, but then again, we dont want our city’s youth turning into 12 year old drunks either, but last I checked, Im allowed to not only go to the store and purchase a bottle of booze, but i can purchase as much booze as my money will allow me, meaning, screw a mandatory maximum for the amount of pot I can legal buy, or possess. I could purchase 100 bottles of Jim Beam but I can only have up to 2 ounces of pot at one time??

      • We have to draw the line somewhere. Legalization or tolerance of alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and every other controlled substance out there come with both good and bad policy effects. Intelligent people are always going to disagree about where they come down on this. The policy line is always going to be shifting based on the values of the day. So you’re right that the choice is an arbitrary one. I simply believe that we should err more towards caution – the negative effects on our society outweigh the gains. But that’s just me.

        • by that logic, according to the science and statistics, alcohol should be prohibited, as weed causes approximately zero deaths per year. Your line is not just arbitrary, it’s not based on any facts whatsoever other than the status quo.

      • clevelanddave

        Ever hear two wrongs don’t make a right? Each is both dangerous in its own way. It is possible to drink alcohol in moderation, and most people drink socially. Most people smoke MJ to get high. There is also the issue of alcohol’s longstanding historical role in society. Of course the cost to society of using alcohol far outweighs the revenue brought in by taxes. Same will be true for marijuana, causing a further drain on resources. Plus he combination of the two is really dangerous- and that is more likely to happen with legalization and greater pervasiveness.

        • That analogy doesn’t make sense. Just as it’s possible to drink in moderation, it’s possible to smoke in moderation.

          • clevelanddave

            Really, you smoke marijuana just to smoke it? No, you smoke it to get high. Most people don’t drink to get drunk- certainly some (many) do, but not most.

          • As a casual drinker, this argument is total BS. Everyone drinks in order to feel the effects of alcohol. There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic drinks out there. So why does everyone sip cocktails at cocktail hour?

            You may not be drinking to get *drunk* drunk, but you are drinking at least in part to enjoy the nice relaxing effect that a beer/glass of wine/cocktail has on you, and for the way it changes the conversation etc.

            Similarly, you can have *one hit* of marijuana – or a small brownie or something – to enjoy the nice relaxing effect that a little bit of THC has. Not 100% analogous, because weed doesn’t have that special divine something that, say, great wine has, but to say that alcohol is just a coincidental side-effect of drinking is complete BS.

          • clevelanddave

            That is your opinion, and you’ve got a point, but it isn’t “total BS.” Most people don’t drink to get drunk, however most people who smoke weed smoke it to get high, period. Most people who smoke a joint smoke the whole thing, or eat the whole brownie, and they get high. Do you get drunk from a glass of wine or a beer or two?

  • I’m voting yes, no question about it. And I love the smell.


    so all of the anti smoke people are just blowing smoke.


  • I do not smoke – never have. But I would vote in favor of this Initiative. Can someone clarify — if the Initiative passes, does that automatically open the door to Colorado style dispensaries and retail sales? The answer wouldn’t change how I plan to vote. Just curious.

  • brookland_rez

    I say legalize it. However, having just spent a week in Colorado last week, my friends that live there say that driving while high is becoming an issue. Authorities need to come up with a way to detect this.

  • Ever since it was decriminalized, U Street has smelled like marijuana every weekend. People already smoke weed, and always will. Telling them they won’t be arrested anymore if they smoke it at home for medicinal use has already morphed into usage in public spaces. And it is a problem. Its not legal to drink in open or in a car, but now voters suddenly think it should be fine to get high public? Terribly shortsighted.
    Mostly it’s males, but its females, too, smoking weed on the public sidewalks or in their cars — in their cars before they drive! It’s not funny: It’s alarming. And it definitely smells like burnt roadkill.
    If people want to smoke it at home, fine, but NOT IN PUBLIC — it should be absolutely illegal and punishable. Are we going to have small crowds of people at restaurants and nightclubs now going outside to smoke pot and then go back inside. Are other businesses, schools, and other public buildings required now to allow adults or teens who reek of pot into the building? What are residents to do when a dispensary opens up across the street and it reeks incessantly for 12 hours or more? Think ahead people!
    And everyone who argues that cigarettes smell, too, either cannot smell or is seriously downplaying the strength of marijuana’s pungent stench. A single joint’s odor can carry for the length of an entire city block. Cigarettes are plenty disgusting, too, but the smoke and smell is not as concentrated. It is not the same; and adding more drugs into our addictive society is not going to help any aspect, especially downtrodden areas like those east of the Anacostia. ps. I’m a liberal’s liberal, but one with a thinking, drug-free brain.

    • It’s still illegal to use in public, and will remain so with the inevitable passage of this bill. Sure, some folks will break the law.

    • +100,000 I’ll be voting no!

    • None of what you said is an argument against the bill.

      Smoking in public will not be allowed.

      Retail sales are not on the horizon. This is personal use only.

      • clevelanddave

        You think that young black men are getting arrested for smoking pot in their homes? No, it is for using in public places. So how does that help?

      • This. Also, how short sighted to say that cigarette smoke is somehow better than marijuana smoke. I know you won’t try this experiment, so I’ve done it for you multiple times in college and high school. Get some friends who smoke cigarettes in your car. Roll the windows up, and let them smoke inside. Wait a few hours and see if the smell remains. Now, have them do the same thing with marijuana.

        It seems counter intuitive based on what you say is the “pungent stench” of the smell of marijuana, but your car will reek for days because of cigarettes, but will be rid of marijuana smell in 6-12 hours.

        Cigarette smoke is harsh. Marijuana smoke is less harsh, in the long run. Sending people to jail for smoking pot is more harsh than both. It’s not about “adding more drugs to our society” as you’re already admitting that our society smells like pot anyway. It’s about harm reduction. Your smells < someone's family/life being ruined for smoking pot.

        Also, even though it is not part of the proposed law in DC, I've partaken in CO's great, super regulated, new marketplace. Dispensaries do not smell, because everything is sealed up and no one is allowed to smoke in the dispensaries and growing doesn't occur on site. It's only done on private property.

        If your neighbor smokes a pig and all those drippings hit those coals and make sweet sweet dead pig smoke fill the air, just because you live next door and are offended by the smell doesn't mean we should make pigs illegal. Use a different argument than "Omg i don't liek the smellz *pout*". It's an absurd argument.

        I love pigs, and have every right to cook them on my property. If someone tells me that pigs and marijuana are different because marijuana is a mind-altering substance has never had a great piece of thick cut, sugared bacon.

        • ALL of the things I have said are arguments against the bill.

          “Smoking in public will not be allowed.”
          It’s already happening. duh, because the law has been relaxed so that an total ban does not exist. So, what makes you think that “will not be allowed” means it will not happen with increased disregard for the law? Drinking is legally allowed. Drinking and driving is not. Do people drink legally and then end up driving illegally? Yes, of course they do. Why do you wish to increase traffic hazards with legal weed leading to high drivers?

          If you had some understanding of human psychology, you would know that people mostly will hover at or somewhat beyond the bounds of legal acceptance. The more society makes something acceptable — meaning less punished — the further people will want to take it.

          Exs. Driving beyond 55 or 65 is not allowed, but many people drive 10-15 miles over the speed limit whenever they can get away with it, no? The more guns are allowed in the public sphere, the more people are toting guns out in the open, no? The more you allow parents to send kids to school without vaccinations, the more unvaccinated kids will come to school. The more you allow people to burn trash or pile it up in their backyards, the more they will. Can go on and on… wake up!

          All I have to do to smell dope is open my window on a weekend because there’s dopes sitting in their car or walking along the edge of my property smoking it before and after hitting the bars. This is not a backyard barbeque, ding-dong. So, what a ridiculous analogy.

          “… to say that cigarette smoke is somehow better than marijuana smoke” — learn to read, skewy.

          Cigarette smoke stinks and is obnoxious, too; the stench does not, however, hang in the air in the same manner as pot. Everyone who is capable of smelling and honest can attest to that difference. And dare I say that everyone in a car full of pot smoke has poisoned their body and brains in equal measure — to the point of being stupid enough to sit in a car full of smoke.

          The vote is obviously lost to people like yourself. So congrats. No point in discussing it further.

  • Lessons from CO and WA have no bearing on this legalization measure: DC is not considering legalizing retail pot.

  • I am a yes voter for several reasons.

    1) After observing the newly legal weed situation in Denver, my hometown from close and from afar, the sky has not fallen. DC will be no different.
    2) The selective and racially biased prosecution of non-violent street level users is morally reprehensible and as a practical matter, ineffective.
    3) I am encouraged by the recent observational data that showed substantial switching effects from alcohol to pot, which is a boon to public health
    4) Fuck Congress – dare them to meddle again
    5) Probably not bad for the public coffers

    Things I am concerned about:
    1) The additional taxes levied on the price of legal weed will ensure that the black market remains thriving, and all of its dark externalities. Diversion from legal to illegal and vice versa is almost a certainty.
    2) The regulatory scheme needed to do this right is pretty complex and I don’t have enormous confidence in the DC government to do it well.

    On balance, not even close. Let it rip DC!

    • This is not a bill to legalize for sale, only to legalize for personal use and growth. I’m voting yes because taxation and sale can come later – this bill only serves to make discriminatory prosecution a thing of the past, which I am also for. But I can’t wait for sale and taxation! Even at higher prices I hope most people would opt for legal grow houses over illegal ones.

    • clevelanddave

      Change how you prosecute, not the law. You are doing no favors to African-American men by encouraging them (or anyone) to smoke/use marijuana more. It will have the opposite effect that you want it to have.

      • “Change how you prosecute, not the law.” I don’t think you have any clue about the size of the disparity, nor does this empty platitude how one would rid the criminal justice system of this problem (which has worsened dramatically in the past 10 years as police departments nationwide pour more of our tax dollars into these arrests). Whatever the negative effects of smoking pot are, they pale in comparison to the negative effects of a simple pot bust, which can (in some cases, permanently) render someone ineligible for student financial assistance, public housing, employment, and/or lawful immigration status. Unless a wizard is willing/able to eliminate the nationwide enforcement disparity (as there is no statistical difference in marijuana usage rates between blacks/whites), saying “change how you prosecute” means “I’m good with the status quo, thanks.”

        • clevelanddave

          But I might have a clue compared to your at least somewhat uninformed opinion, Charles. You are almost certainly incorrect. The cost to society of having marijuana widely and pervasively available will likely be much higher than “a simple pot bust” or even not so simple busts. Lesson number one: if you are here in this country on any kind of temporary status, don’t break the law. Lesson two: driving, using heavy equipment, seeing patients if you are a doctor, isn’t a good idea to do while high (already in Colorado lots more people are driving while high). True, the cost of enforcing the law and the cost to those who break it (for dealing in drugs, for frequent offenders) is great, but overall the benefits that come from discouraging the use of marijuana is even greater. I guess the experiment is now underway, so whatever your position we’ll see who is correct!

          • Please explain how $3.6 billion spent per year justifies whatever it is you mean by “the benefits that come from discouraging the use of marijuana.” (Hint: there are numerous studies, easily available using a device called “the google,” that show criminal enforcement does little to nothing to “discourage” marijuana use). Show your work–saying I’m “almost certainly incorrect” doesn’t count. And yes, roughly 90% of all marijuana enforcement comes in the form of “simple pot busts” (read: possession charges), so your fantasy that the billions of dollars poured into the system are spent bringing down those “dealing in drugs” is just that: a fantasy.

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