D.C. marijuana decriminalization opinions mixed

“It’s nothing other than racism,” says attorney Paul Zukerberg.

Zukerberg ran for D.C. Council on decriminalizing marijuana.

“D.C. is worse than Alabama, worse than Mississippi.”

He didn’t win, but D.C.’s ACLU has joined the cause with a report out this week that shows marijuana arrests are up more than 60 percent since 2001, and in a city where roughly half the population’s black, 91-percent of those arrested for marijuana are black.

“The only way to end this extreme racial disparity and these extreme numbers of arrests is to decriminalize marijuana.”

According to the report, if you are black, not only are you most likely to be arrested for marijuana than any other group inside D.C., you’re twice as likely to be arrested than a black person outside of D.C.

“I went to a game one day and the officer said they smelled marijuana,” says Tiffany Curry of D.C. “It’s like 10,000 people out there.”

Though Chief Lanier says marijuana is not a priority for MPD, some at the Anacostia Metro station say it is, especially if you’re a young black man with dreads.

“They’ll say that they smell it on you and they’ll try to search you and lock [you up], so I mean, that’s what they do,” says Steve Octave of D.C.

D.C. Council member and now mayoral candidate Tommy Wells (D-DC) says arrest records hurt the ability to find jobs.

“I’m working on legislation to decriminalize marijuana in D.C.,” Wells says.

Jack Evans, another mayoral candidate, says he would support it.

But others at the Anacostia Metro station disagree.

“I think you should get arrested if you have it, that simple,” says Markeeta Knight of D.C.

“Use of drugs should be against the law, period. I don’t care if it’s a small amount of medium size amount,” says Sian Kent of D.C.