The Jan. 7 editorial “Clouded judgment” regurgitated the same tired argument that the District is moving too fast to change discriminatory cannabis laws. But as council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) said, there is no emergency that warrants a ban.
Beginning July 17, 2014, the day the D.C. Council’s decriminalization law went into effect, it stopped being a criminal offense to have cannabis clubs in the District. It wasn’t a criminal offense to have private events, where the public is not invited and cannabis could be used behind closed doors. The decriminalization law says that the smell of cannabis is not probable cause for police action. Private cannabis clubs could have been created before Initiative 71 was voted on, but they weren’t.
By rubber-stamping the mayor’s ban, the council inadvertently created the “smokeasy,” a private residence where adults consume cannabis together. Is this the “unintended consequence” of poorly crafted emergency legislation? It’s a hallmark of poor governance to enact laws to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. By banning cannabis-using adults from gathering at private venues, the council created a problem.
We look forward to working with the mayor and the D.C. Council on fixing the ban so all adults have access to safe places outside their homes to use cannabis responsibly.
Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller, Washington
The writers are founders of DCMJ and authors of Initiative 71.