April 19, 2016 / 8:32 PM / in 3 years

Washington, DC lawmakers finalize ban on public pot smoking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington, D.C.’s city council on Tuesday permanently banned the smoking of marijuana in public or in clubs, a spokeswoman for Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said, voting 7-6 for a second time to approve the prohibition. The council had passed the measure in an initial vote early this month.

Two months ago, the council voted unanimously to create atask force to study the licensing of marijuana clubs and endingthe ban on public consumption of pot.

A law that took effect in February 2015 allows adults topossess small amounts of marijuana, and grow and consume it athome. The District bans the sale of marijuana, but public smoking has become common as arrests have dried up.

The vote council earlier this year voted to let the ban expire but then reversed course under pressure from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Besides the District of Columbia, the states of Colorado,Washington, Oregon and Alaska have made the recreational use of pot lawful. It remains illegal under federal law.

Reporting by Ian Simpson and Steve Orlofsky

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