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D.C. voters approve marijuana legalization

D.C voters chose to legalize marijuana in the city Tuesday night. Hatchet File Photo
D.C voters chose to legalize marijuana in the city Tuesday night. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Nov. 5, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.

D.C. voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the city on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.

At least 68 percent of voters approved of legalizing possession of less than two ounces of marijuana for those over 21. The initiative is expected to pass in all eight wards, including Foggy Bottom.

With the D.C. Board of Election reporting about 18 percent of the vote in Ward 2, about 71 percent of Foggy Bottom voters were in favor of the initiative.

Before marijuana becomes legal in D.C., the initiative must be approved by the city government and pass a 60-day period in which Congress can review the measure.

The University has said that even if marijuana was legalized in D.C. it would continue to ban marijuana use on campus. If it did not, it could risk losing federal funding.

Last week, the D.C. Council discussed how to roll out legalization, and pinpointed the challenges of how to tax the drug, as well as the potential health risks. Council member David Grosso, who introduced legalization legislation last year, said then that the tax revenue from selling marijuana legally could go toward education efforts to raise awareness of the drug’s potential harms.

Student leaders have lobbied for legalizing the drug since the referendum was placed on the ballot in August. GW’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter encouraged students to vote, and members have said that once marijuana was legalized, they would urge the University to relax the current penalties for on-campus marijuana use.

Since decriminalization took effect in the city in July, those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana face just a $25 fine.

Before the referendum made it on the ballot, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign circulated a petition that secured 57,000 signatures. That was twice the amount needed to place it on the ballot.

At least 63 percent of D.C. residents supported legalization, according to a Washington Post poll released in January.

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