We’re seeing controversy over cannabis clubs all over the country these days – with both Denver and Colorado Springs fighting for their rights to cannabis clubs it should come as no surprise to see it happening elsewhere. In Washington D.C., the laws on cannabis are simple, but still restrictive, allowing cultivation, use and possession of up to two ounces – but consumption is only allowed in private residences and the city is not allowed to tax and regulate the plant.
This has left the D.C. area short on two major things – dispensaries (leaving the market open for the drug dealers still, considering many won’t choose to go to the trouble of growing it themselves) as well as cannabis clubs – which allow for a place for people to openly consume marijuana outside of their private residence.
After all, with the current setup, there are still plenty of people who have nowhere to smoke – for example anyone living in federal or public housing of any kind, including apartment buildings. How about parents who don’t wish to consume in front of their children but cannot go out and leave the children with a babysitter as they would to go out and have a drink?
There is just a ton of gray area that is left after Initiative 71 passed in 2014 – even though legalization has still made a significant positive impact on the community. The only thing missing (as is for most places which have legalized) is a place for marijuana users to gather and toke up together in a social setting.
D.C. lawmakers have been running themselves in circles with the idea of private marijuana clubs, worrying about being able to regulate such an industry when they are not allowed to tax and/or regulate the plant. They eventually set up a temporary ban, which was to allow a task force to be assembled in order to determine the best way to go about implementing such a thing.
Now they have taken to vote once again, with a 7-6 outcome in favor of the ban. There is still one more vote to go until the final ruling – but if it is passed the Mayor is sure to sign it into law as he is openly against the idea of cannabis clubs. However, if it were to pass then they may not be able to reverse the ban later without approval from congress.
Both the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance are calling for lawmakers to wait it out and give the task force a chance to do their jobs before making a final vote. After all, they created the taskforce to look at this from all angles and decide what the best approach for D.C. would be to ensure safety of the citizens.