As Tim Craig reports for the Washington Post, D.C. law prohibiting the use of marijuana for recreational purposes isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Caught on a possession charge, a person in D.C. currently faces harsh punishment: up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.
Maryland, on the other hand, recently eased up on possession charges (though it hasn’t eased up that much), reducing the amount of time spent behind bars to a possible three months (but still imposes a heavy $1,000 fine, according to Craig). Other states in the D.C. area have taken similar measures.
So what’s going on in D.C.?
It’s the U.S. Attorney, who wields significant “clout” in the lawmaking process. While the D.C. mayor appears to support easing up on harsh punishment for the recreational use of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen is a representative of the federal government – and the federal government hasn’t been exactly soft on crime when it comes to marijuana.
Machen prosecutes the marijuana possession cases in D.C., and he’s a “player” in debating bills. “Any bill that goes through here, the U.S. Attorney is a player in the legislative process,” said D.C. mayor Vincent Gray, as Craig reports. “I would suppose they would oppose any weakening.”
If you have been arrested for a drug crime, contact a Maryland criminal attorney before you talk to police or anyone else.