DC Lawmakers Open Door to Pot Smoking in Private Clubs

Task force to study legal use of marijuana outside homes

Lawmakers in the nation's capital opened the door to allowing people to smoke marijuana in clubs that charge a membership fee.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to establish a task force to study how the city could allow pot smoking in places other than people's homes.

Possession of up to 2 ounces of pot for personal use has been legal in the District of Columbia since early last year. Congress has blocked local officials from any further liberalization of the city's pot laws.

A majority of the Council appears ready to broaden the law, but wants to avoid interference by Congress.

But advocates said there was room to establish rules for places where people could congregate and smoke. Mayor Muriel Bowser had pushed for a permanent ban on pot clubs, but the Council set that bill aside in favor of creating the task force.

Marijuana advocates say the Council should just end the ban on marijuana outside the home.

“To be fair, we're not simply talking about private clubs,” said Kate Bell of the Marijuana Policy Project. “We're talking about private events, venues, religious, party, weddings.”


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The seven members of the task force will be appointed by the mayor, the Council and the attorney general and will report back in four months.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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