House Plans Hearing on D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization

Next month, a House panel plans to hold a hearing focused on D.C.'s legislation to decriminalize marijuana, which would drop possession of a small amount of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil offense with a $25 fine.

Any crime legislation passed by the D.C. Council is subject to a 60-day review period in Congress.

The D.C. Council passed the bill last month, and Mayor Vincent Gray signed it. The bill would be one of the nation's strongest decriminalization policies.

The bill's lead sponsor, Council member Tommy Wells describes the law as "a victory for the district and a victory for justice," citing a study that found black residents were eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for pot possession.

Congressional approval would make D.C. one of 18 states (and districts) to have some form of pot decriminalization.

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