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DC campaign to legalize marijuana enters home stretch

Monday, November 03, 2014 - 02:09

Supporters of legalizing marijuana in DC make last minute preparations for election that could make possessing and growing marijuana plants legal in U.S. capital. Katharine Jackson reports.

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The day before voters in the U.S. Capital City decide whether to legalize marijuana, the DC Cannabis Campaign office buzzes with activity. Workers dole out hemp T-shirts and signs designed to convince District of Columbia voters to vote yes on Ballot Initiative 71. Adam Eidinger who chairs the DC Cannabis campaign says the support is there -- even if you don't always see it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM EIDINGER, DC CANNABIS CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, SAYING: "I mean, there are probably a million Americans that are in the marijuana world, that are growing it or using it regularly, and they, they want to come out of the shadows, they want to come out of the closet. And Election Day we're going to come out of the closet." Ballot initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and allows up to six marijuana plants to be grown at home. The initiative does not deal with the sale of marijuana. The city council is considering a separate bill to tax and regulate marijuana within the District of Columbia. Supporters of marijuana reform say legalization is a civil rights issue since an American Civil Liberties Union study found blacks in Washington are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than people of other races. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADAM EIDINGER, DC CANNABIS CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, SAYING: "Since they're stopping more African Americans, they're finding more marijuana. In the white community, people are not stopped and frisked on a regular basis and this kind of racial disparity in policing has been justified through the marijuana arrests themselves." But some say legalized marijuana will only bring more problems. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILL JONES, TWO IS ENOUGH, SAYING: "Especially in minority communities, in African American communities, we have a disproportionate amount of liquor stores and tobacco advertising targeted towards us and the last thing we need is to have marijuana stores on the corner as well." A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found 47 percent of Americans support of legalization and 35 percent oppose it. Only Colorado and Washington state have legalized the sale of marijuana so far. On Tuesday ballot initiatives in Oregon and Alaska would also legalize sales...in a country where one in four Americans say they have used pot.

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DC campaign to legalize marijuana enters home stretch

Monday, November 03, 2014 - 02:09