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Washington DC Residents Strongly Favor Legalizing Marijuana

Residents of the District of Columbia strongly favor legalizing marijuana consumption for adults, according to the findings of a Washington Post poll, released today

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they favor “legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.”

Since 2010, the last time residents were polled on the question, Washingtonians of every age, race and ethnicity — black and white, teenage and elderly — have registered double-digit increases in support for legalization, The Washington Post reported.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said that they opposed legalization. However, among those respondents, nearly half (16 percent) acknowledged support for reducing the criminal penalties for marijuana offenses.

Earlier today, Members of the DC Committee on Public Safety voted unanimously in favor of legislation amending local marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000) to a non-arrestable civil infraction (punishable by a $25 fine for possession and a $100 fine for public consumption). The full City Council is expected to act on the measure within the coming weeks.

Any legislation approved by the DC City Council also requires Congressional approval.

A 2012 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland reported that DC possesses the highest percentage of marijuana possession arrests per capita in the nation.

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