Update: Jan. 15, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.
Original: Jan. 15, 2014 at 5:39 a.m.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A parking ticket may soon cost more in the nation’s capital than possessing marijuana.
District of Columbia lawmakers have advanced legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot.
The D.C. Council’s public safety committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to send the measure to the full council for consideration.
The measure would eliminate criminal penalties for people who possess one ounce or less of marijuana. Instead, they would be fined and the drug would be seized.
Councilmember Tommy Wells is proposing a fine of $25 for possessing marijuana and $100 for smoking it. The fine imposed for some parking violations in the city can be as much as $500, though the majority are roughly the same as the proposed penalties for carrying pot.
Currently under D.C. law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Wells, who chairs the committee, says there are “undeniable racial disparities” in marijuana arrests and that criminal justice reform is needed.
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