Do You Fear a “free-for-all where marijuana enthusiasts immediately start growing and smoking at home”?

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A reader sends the request “Can We Please Discuss Pot on PoPville?” along with this article from the Post In D.C., fears of chaos grow as legal pot nears:

“Barring ­last-minute federal intervention, the District’s attorney general said that pot will become legal as early as Feb. 26 without any regulations in place to govern a new marketplace that is likely to explode into view.

Even some supporters of the initiative are worried. At best, they predict an uncertain ­free-for-all where marijuana enthusiasts immediately start growing and smoking at home — and testing the limits of a law that does not allow for public consumption or sale. At worst, they say, as entrepreneurs push ahead with the business of pot, unregulated businesses will start popping up with no means to judge the safety of their product.”

Do you fear a coming chaos?

109 Comment

  • It’s been a long time since I took the Post seriously as a source of local news.

    • When I first moved to DC and saw that the local section had more news about Virginia, Maryland and congress than DC I realized I needed a better source for local news.

  • My only fear is Congress, and especially Andy Harris, messing with the choices we, as a people who have no proper Congressional representation, make.

    I’m looking forward to my trip to the dispensary later (I have no worries about quality) and bring on the home cultivation!

  • The biggest issue is if you’re a landlord. Many leases in California (and probably also CO and WA) have specific clauses banning the cultivation of marijuana within a rented home.
    The smoking issue will be another beast. Many leases ban smoking in the domicile, but the ONLY legal place to smoke is within the home. I imagine a lot of forfeited security deposits.

    • vaporizors, edibles – that’s not a big deal

      bigger deal will be home hash oil production, which is actually outlawed in places where legalization has already happened.

      • Also, the landlord could potentially still get in trouble with the Feds (asset forfeiture, fines) for a grow operation or even smoking. Definitely a big, risky grey area for landlords.

    • Seriously. All these people nay-saying and scaremongering sound like they’re tearing a page out of Fox News’ guidebook.

      NEWS FLASH: People smoking weed illegally in the district, in rented house for the past 80 years.

      And in terms of federal asset forfeiture, as recent news reports show, the government need not find weed, or any sort of criminal activity to seize your assets and not give them back. So, smoking weed inside of a house shouldn’t give you pause for concern more than sitting in your house drinking tea.

  • If your idea of chaos includes insanely long lines at Amsterdam Falafel at 3 PM, then yes. I’m terrified.

  • The only thing i’d fear is the city not getting the insane amount of tax money that other states who have legalized it have. Other than that, can’t say I’ve ever feared a stoner, except those that drive, they’re as dangerous as drunk drivers just in a completely different way

    • Anastasia Beaverhausen

      Wrong. Just yesterday one of the Post blogs had a story about a report from the NTSB that said that stoned drivers are nowhere near as dangerous as drunk ones.

      • I’m guessing you meant the NHTSA right? So yeah looking at the study it does seem that the numbers show that, but I would place money on that as Pot becomes more prevalent, and technology to detect THC levels become better, that those numbers will go up…… But i’m guessing it’s also safe to ignore other parts of the same survey where they discuss that THC isn’t predictable from person to person as alcohol is?

      • But are they dangerous? Why should we encourage one more bad behavior when it is dangerous enough to bike or walk around drivers who are already incapacitated in one way or another (i.e., on phones, texting, etc.). The accident data for Colorado in the coming years will be tres interessant.

        • You’re assuming this increase rates of ‘bad behavior.’ There’s some evidence that pot use replaces alcohol use for a number of people – which will likely lead to less crashes and violence overall.

          • +1 I don’t think its entirely safe to drive if you are really really stoned, but I imagine having legal pot will lead to safer roads on account of designated drivers ACTUALLY not drinking and electing to smoke instead.

          • is that we’re gonna advocate the? Going out tonight? Get high instead of drunk! It will be interesting to see the stats in about a few years though, but really I don’t think anyone under the influence of anything should be driving — the idea that it’s OK because it’s not as bad as being drunk sounds ridiculous

    • Well driving is inherently dangerous.

  • I mean, the status quo is that lots of people are growing and smoking at home…is the status quo sufficiently chaotic for our local Chicken Littles?

  • I suspect there will be a robust small time regional market with minimal intervention . . . think of it as Virginia’s gun laws in reverse. And yes — there will be Uber for weed.

    There is so much about this initiative which is poorly planned and relies on already feeble DC government to effectively regulate. What could go wrong?

    • Isn’t there already delivery service for weed? I’m sure I read about that recently – though maybe it was in NYC.

      • that’s a web comedy show, but it’s supposedly based on a real service. The delivery model has existed for ever — it’s called a dealer.

        I guess I’m thinking more about new business models on the margins of regulations and legality where enterprising folks chase a buck enabled by new technology. DC legalized weed before drones, so my new business model is out the window and on the White House lawn

      • They’re called Mr. Nice Guy. I saw a documentary about them on TV a while back. One of their friends accidentally killed a diabetic police horse so they started a weed delivery business to raise bail money for him.

      • The answer is yes.

      • Yes. No one goes to their dealer in NYC. They come to you.

      • There have been numerous services in D.C. doing that for years. Some have dismantled. Others have not. From what I hear. Seriously.

    • The DC government is barred from planning and/or regulating it, period. That’s the concern in the article.

  • I have never once in my life been afraid of marijuana or the people that smoke it. Why start now?

    • I’m not afraid and I can’t even say I’ve been annoyed, but I could see the potential. Plus six plants naturally stink all by themselves — I can’t imagine how bad it will get when small apartment dwellers get in on this.

      • Yeah, there’s going to be lots of nuisance issues, but those should be able to be dealt with just like the current noise or smell complaint system. Plus, there’s nothing that says landlords can’t bar home growing or consumption, so after maybe a couple months, things should be fine(plus, it’s a city, smells and sounds happen, if they’re minimal they won’t be a problem).

        • Uh, the anti-smoking (cigarette smoking) campaign has been a long time in the works and is very complicated. The idea of apartment dwellers even having rights to live in a smoke-free apartment (free from the second-hand smoke of fellow tenants) is an idea that we still haven’t accepted in this society. It is debated, found in court cases across the country, and far from a decided issue. So no, the nuisance/health issue of smoking-any kind- isn’t going away in a couple months. It’s only getting started- and it’s been around for years!!

        • have you been in a commercial grow house? even a small one requires a dedicated ventillation system. 6 plants isn’t that big a deal until you place those 6 medium to large plants in 600-800 sq ft of space in addition to any number of other off-gassing things produced in the course of daily life. Suddenly the neighbor who likes to make curry doesn’t seem so bad.

      • Your farts smell worse than my weed. How much chaos does your shit (before chipotle) cause?

    • “I have never once in my life been afraid of marijuana or the people that smoke it. Why start now?”

      Say that again when it’s your 12 year old kids smoking daily, weed that’s 3x as strong as it was in the 90s. We shouldn’t make a laws “for the kids”, but it’s nonsense to think there aren’t costs associated weed consumption.

      • Why do people consistently post this drivel. There isn’t any evidence that more kids will use marijuana if it’s legalized.

      • Yes, and I’m sure that you’d feel the same way about drinking alcohol, no?

        I’m sure that the above poster never partook in underage drinking. Never ever, cause he/she was a good boy/girl.

        Also your claim of weed being 3x stronger than the 90s is utter trash. Look up Columbian Gold, shit’s been around since the 70s, mannnnnn.

  • I’m petrified.

  • Realistically, I don’t see much changing from what’s already going on, bar the end of many small-time dealers on the street. Public consumption is already happening(heck, I walked by someone openly smoking right outside Union Station in the middle of yesterday afternoon), and home growing doesn’t do anything to increase crime. There’s going to be some regulatory flux, but regulatory flux is better than the black market in our neighborhoods, any day.

    • The problem is that Congress has barred D.C. from issuing any regulations on it. So currently there are no regulations whatsoever.

      • It’s a short term issue, and the current regime of I 71 is, in itself a regulation. There’s a clear non-commercial clause, along with the cap on plants/person. So no, it won’t be unregulated, it will simply be less regulated that the final regulations(which will probably place lower caps on per-residence number of plants, and eventually open the commercial system which will greatly diminish the number of home-grows).

        • Initiative 71 is being treated as a law. (“With Bowser’s blessing, Mendelson sent Initiative 71 to Capitol Hill to start a congressional review period imposed on all new city laws. Mendelson was essentially throwing down a gauntlet, challenging Congress either to take action to block Initiative 71 altogether or to let the city govern itself.”)
          People often use the words “law” and “regulation” as though they’re interchangeable, but they’re not. Laws are (usually) passed by the legislative branch. Regulations are rules issued by the executive branch to implement laws. It’s basically not a good idea to have a law — ANY law — without associated regulations. That’s the position that Congress has put us in, but it’s not a good one.

          • Oh I know(I’m a regulatory economist fwiw), but holding that just because a law is on the books without other relevant regulations doesn’t mean that the industry is “unregulated”, whatsoever. Yeah, there will be further regulations, but there are clear rules as to what is or is not legal. It’s not the free-for-all that people say it is, and the regulations that will come into place later will simply be more stringent than the language of I-71. Enacting the final regulations will be more moving from “good” to “better” than “nothing” to “something”.

    • what home growing will do is make it accessible to people who may have had a harder time securing it — namely children. Given that daily use for teens is shown to fully reduce an IQ point per year up to 18 years of age, DC should think of it in terms of a its school aged residents, of whom only 64% graduate high school in 4 years.

      • Fun fact: allowing cannabis to fall into the hands of minors is still illegal and anyone found to be providing the substance to minors still faces lots of jail time. We know that it’s easy to come by on the black market now, but at least under this system, you know exactly who would be at fault when it falls into the hands of minors. The numbers out of Colorado show no increase in teen consumption.

        • In DC and its lenient approach to juvenile justice jail isn’t much of a deterant for a minor commiting REAL crimes, so why would said minor care about getting busted with weed? It’s not the letter of the law at issue here — simply logistics and ease of access and general tolerance of use.

          It’s barely been a year since Colorado legalized? Put down the pipe and come up with a compelling argument.

      • Another fun fact,

        Those studies linking use to IQ drop have been seriously called into question.

        oh and another,

        There hasn’t been an increase in use among minors in states that have legalized.

      • What % of those children are from parents who are caught up in a system for crimes that shouldn’t be illegal in the first place?

  • fear is the lock and laughter the key to your heart.

  • Honestly, not much is going to change from the current situation. We might see “Pot Clubs” or something to that effect pop up around DC since the sale is still technically illegal, but it will be interesting to see how the local pot market develops without state intervention. Only downside is that DC won’t see any of those sweet tax revenues CO and WA have seen so far.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I can’t think of anything to be concerned about, but I’ve got pearls on standby.

  • Nothing bad is going to happen, but people who are worried (clearly the person who emailed) can thank Andy Harris and his rider for creating this situation. He thought he was sticking it to DC but it turns out DC will become a marijuana haven. Nice job, idiot.

  • Man y’all trippin. Nothing is going to change much people have been smokin weed for years and will continue to smoke weed. I smoke weed everyday, in my apartment, out in the street (I have a vape pen), and I make my own edibles (brownies and cookies). I’ve never been caught by police because I’m low key with mines. Even before Feb 26th weed delivery services have been up and running in DC especially since the decriminalization. I know in NYC its very out in the open you’ll never have a problem getting trees up there and on the NYC craigslist they sell it on there too (weight though 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, oz) all you gotta do is search “420” in the sales section. Times and changing, people are changing, although the older population needs to get over it. DC is already too conservative in many ways, if marijuana was ever regulated in and taxed in the city it would indeed change the culture for the better. Too many people here walk like they have a stick up their ass.

  • My neighbors must not have got the memo to wait until the 28th, since the apt building reeks of weed almost daily. Slight problem for the fed gov employees and people with security clearances.

    • Simply smelling weed or being briefly exposed to it isn’t going to cause you to test positive for THC. You’d actually have to GET HIGH to register a positive test – the GC-MS testing method uses the 50 nanograms cutoff for most federal jobs, and even with regular exposure to DIRECT SMOKE (not just the odor) you’d be WELL below that level.

    • You’ll be ok, sweetie. I promise. There’s no issues with your clearance if an unrelated neighbor is smoking in an adjacent domicile.

      • Yes, thank you. Although a tinsy patronizing, this is what is wrong with DC.

        • Yes, a bunch of people whining about smell and “what about the children?” When they go to club around the city, get black out drunk, throw up in the streets/bathrooms and then turn around and say that it’ll be chaos when a dude smokes a joint on their couch at home.

          Get real, DC.

  • When I think pot, I do not think “chaos” or “explode” or anything remotely high energy. Frankly, I don’t think anyone will notice much of a difference.

  • I think I would be more afraid of people who do not have the means to grow their own or purchase their own (yes i know buying/selling is still not legal but you know what I mean) trying to forcefully take it from those who can…break-ins..muggings..etc…

    • good point — it’s another commodity to be targetted like any other. Only now if someone steels your weed you can include it in the police report. I wonder how home insurers will deal with it if someone places a claim?

    • Unfounded fear mongering. If you don’t think there are already grow houses across the district and people who smoke inside, you’re beside yourself.

      Not to mention the logical fallacy of “Hey, there will be more increased muggings and break ins if we allow people to legally smoke and grow in their house?”

      As if illegally, it’s less sought after?

  • I guess I’m in the minority, but I’d like to see a lot more arrest/harassment activity of the thugs on my block. Assuming that the police will completely ignore weed smoking now, that removes one more tool in the police toolbox for getting folks to disperse, check warrants, and check for weapons.

    • I hope they run you for warrants, as well, when you’re walking to the Metro. Ya know, ‘cuz let’s live in a Police State.

    • SMOKING IN PUBLIC WILL STILL BE ILLEGAL. I’m not sure why people don’t understand this. Same with possession by minors.

  • Sounds like the Post got into Maureen Dowd’s stash.

  • People seem to smoke it publicly in my neighborhood without any repercussions anyway, so I don’t see the legalization of possession and private consumption changing things much at all.

  • My biggest concern is the effects that increased demand will have on the current, illegal distribution channels. Without a mechanism for legal sales in place, the negative side effects of drug dealing (gun violence, etc.) could possibly be on the rise in the near future.

    • But why would it be any different than what’s out there right now?

      • I’m pro-legalization, but an uptick in violence is possible as there’s less money to be made in the illegal weed trade (once we have legal retail in place, that is). Same number of people fighting over a smaller pile of money.

        I’ve read that drug-related violence goes up when the wholesale price of cocaine rises, for pretty much this reason. It squeezes dealers’ and distributors’ profit margins so they have to sell more to keep making money – and that often means getting into fights about territory, etc.

      • Increased activity as a result of increased demand.

        • I’m not sure that there’s going to be too much of an increase in demand. I’m assuming that most (grown) folks who have an interest in using are already doing so. I could see that there may be more personal use, but I doubt that it would create too many new smokers.

        • People on the margins who don’t already smoke (but might be willing to try) aren’t going to go looking for a dealer, even though it’s legal to possess and consume. If we had legal shops that made it safe and easy to buy, those people might be tempted to buy an eighth once or twice a year. However, these people might try to grow a plant once per year. That seems more reasonable.
          Honestly, the change in the law won’t have much of an effect smoking rates in the District.

    • I share this concern. We live on a block with a problem house in Petworth that sells mostly pot. I’m all for legalization, but I worry the new law could make it harder for MPD to crack down on houses like this or at least make them less inclined to do so. Beyond the obvious danger associated with a parade of cars with MD tags down the block, the house attracts variety of unsavory activity and occasionally gun violence. What is going to be done about houses like this one?

  • This entire pot legalization thing makes my eyes roll. The entire argument being “well, DC residents voted for it, so their vote should be respected and left alone”.

    This city voted to put a lying, womanizing, alcoholic kick-back receiving crackhead felon back in the Mayors chair not that long ago, and until he died last year was getting a full 12% of the city’s population to vote him back to the Council chamber year after year. Some of the other Council choices are only marginally better, but if Marion Barry had run again for Mayor (as it looked like he would against Fenty, and lets be honest here, he would have won), DC residents would have been clamoring all over Capitol Hill to get Congress to intervene. Of all the “things” to draw a line in the sand with Congress over, using pot to make that argument is beyond childish and juvenile.

    Vince Gray’s political shenanigans over the decades in this town were well recorded, and his skeletons on full display, yet this town though it positive to vote him into office. We see how that turned out.

    In a town that clearly votes against its own good with some frequency, I find the cognitive dissonance a little more than funny. And as for Maryland and Virginia, their concerns are the exact same ones District residents have regarding guns. The argument being, it is impossible to control guns when it is so easy to get right across two state borders. Their argument for weed is just as valid.

    This “pot now” ridiculousness was enacted out of some liberal guilt because more black men end up in prison over pot than any other race. And it is true…why? Because the rest of us don’t light up on a busy street corner in the middle of the day, then wonder why we were caught. Once weed becomes so easy to get in DC, we will be having DCPS officials bemoaning the fact that half their students are high all the time.

    • I’m not sure I’ve ever disagreed more with a person.

      Anyone who uses the phrase “liberal guilt” should not be taken seriously.

      You should question yourself every once in a while. And perhaps read a little more.

    • How old are you? He was re-elected as the District’s 4th mayor in 1995… that’s 20 years ago.. That’s plenty long ago.

    • “Because the rest of us don’t light up on a busy street corner in the middle of the day, then wonder why we were caught.”
      And why is that? Because you’re wealthy/fortunate/lucky enough to have a place to smoke safely and privately. Get your head out of your butt.

    • What a complicated rant. As a 46 year old white female (and also a gardener) I look forward to growing a plant or two. I am so proud of our elected officials for challenging congress on this issue. I don’t even smoke weed, but I would like to enjoy some brownies after I retire.

    • Come on, she makes some valid points. Virginia and Maryland voters are too smart to ever elect politicians that receive kick-backs or commit felonies. And pot is pretty hard to track down in VA and MD as it is, so I can definitely see people wanting to drive into the District in hopes of stumbling across a home grower who is feeling generous enough to share.

      • She makes 0 valid points. Unless she’s arguing against democracy because people (like her) are stupid, then I can somewhat agree.

        The idea that “liberal guilt” is to blame instead of the fact that minorities are imprisoned is fucking redonkulous. I hope Amanda checks her white privilege and acknowledges that being charged with a felony, taking public resources to put someone in the prison system (which largely does not work for correcting behavior) and then given the hardest time to get a job is not worth all the trouble, then she can speak again. Until then, stuff a squirt bottle down your throat at Dan’s Cafe, and shut it.

      • I agree, generally there are valid points in that rant. But I also don’t think it’s a persuasive anti-legalization argument.

    • oh amanda. maybe you’re asking questions, trying to figure things out. good luck. you certainly have a lot of incorrect ideas, and you will have to struggle to work through this.

  • people who smoke are already smoking in their homes now, so that won’t change. The main thing will be people really pushing this law and see how far they can go.


    It is my patriotic duty.

  • Linc Park SE

    But – it’s still illegal on a FEDERAL LEVEL. Soooo – technically that supersedes the DC initiative – right? Can a DC cop now get high and still pass a pee drug test?

  • saf

    I am pro-legalization, but I do wish the guys who smoke pot on my block would keep it inside. I can smell it, a lot of it, from inside my house, and it is awfully skunky.

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