Legalized Pot In D.C. Could Be Chaotic, With No Rules On Selling


The District of Columbia could soon be the Wild West of marijuana, says the Washington Post. In eight days, a voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana will take effect. Residents and visitors old enough to drink a beer will be able to possess enough pot to roll 100 joints. It's unclear how anyone will obtain it. Unlike the four states where voters have approved recreational pot use, the District government has been barred by Congress from establishing rules on how marijuana will be sold. In December, opponents in Congress tried to up-end the result by blocking any new rules establishing legal ways to sell it, protections for those caught purchasing it or taxes to cover its social costs.

D.C. officials say that Congress's action did not halt the initiative, but it did set the city up for potential chaos. Barring ­last-minute federal intervention, the District's attorney general said that pot will become legal as early as Feb. 26 without any regulations in place to govern a new marketplace that is likely to explode into view. Even some supporters of the initiative are worried. At best, they predict a ­free-for-all where marijuana enthusiasts immediately start growing and smoking at home and testing the limits of a law that does not allow for public consumption or sale. At worst, as entrepreneurs push ahead with the business of pot, unregulated businesses will start popping up with no means to judge the safety of their product. Two ballrooms on Capitol Hill are reserved for a pot expo on Feb. 28.

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