Marion Barry and Tommy Wells: D.C. City Council to consider marijuana decriminalization bills

Members of the D.C. City Council are planning to introduce bills to decriminalize marijuana. The first is expected to come from a combined effort from Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells.

"We're not saying we approve of marijuana, but maybe it should be more of an administrative penalty than a criminal penalty" Wells says.

Wells says the bill would only decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and that it would clear the criminal records of those arrested. In Wells' opinion it would allow them to more easily get jobs and housing.

So now D.C. residents start the debate over whether the city should decriminalize marijuana.

"I don't see why something that is basically not harmful should be illegal," says Don Lawson.

Under current law, you can get sentenced to 180 days in jail and fined $1,000 for possessing up to a half pound of cannibis.

“I think drug laws are too strict in this country regarding that drug,” Annelle Sheline says.

Recent polls show support among D.C. voters for decriminalization. But not everyone ABC7 talked with was sure it is such a good idea.

“Okay, I can steal a cigarette from my mom now. Then I can steal a smoke from my brother or sister,” Donna Green says. “That is a real concern and parents and everybody in the city should be concerned about that.”