The city of Washington D.C. technically has legalized recreational marijuana, but restrictions put in place by Congress make the laws very murky. And now 30 people are paying the price, writes Joseph Misulonas.
A marijuana pop-up event in Washington D.C. was broken up last weekend, and resulted in the arrests of 30 people. The police said they were executing a search warrant, although it's not clear what the warrant was for, and that led to the arrests. The police also seized pounds of marijuana and around $10,000 in cash.
Washington D.C. voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014. Under the law, residents may possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to three mature and three marijuana plants in their homes. However Congress acted to prevent the city from allowing marijuana dispensaries and recreational sales.
The city has gotten around these ban on recreational sales by allowing transfers and gifts. Basically, as long as someone is of age, you can gift them cannabis without penalty. Some businesses have begun selling thing such as bongs or mason jars or other products and then including free marijuana in the purchase.
Marijuana pop-up events became a popular way for the city to skirt around the recreational sales ban. But in the past month or so, the city's police department has begun breaking up these events and arresting people attending them.
So thanks to Congress banning the city's recreational sales, residents of Washington D.C. are basically living in a legal gray area when it comes to cannabis, and now people such as the 30 arrested over the weekend are paying the price.