USA. Washington DC is almost certain to decriminalize the use of cannabis if (and when) local politicians vote on the matter in the coming weeks. Even before the formal vote takes place, the Mayor and 10 (out of a total of 13) local councillors have endorsed the plan which will see use of cannabis become a civil offence rather than a criminal offence.
Many Cannabis users will feel that the new law does not go quite far enough. However, this is a very big step in the right direction on the road to full legalization. Removal of criminal sanctions will be a major boost to the local police who will be free to concentrate on real crime. And anyone caught using cannabis is likely to face a small fine, which in reality is likely to be punishment punishment for smoking in public. There will be no more criminal records for pot use, and that will be something for young people and (especially) ethnic minorities to celebrate.
The real importance of the move by the Washington DC council is symbolic. The beating heart of politicial USA, Washington DC, will have recognised that criminal prohibition of cannabis has been a failure. Its a very clear message to any other areas of the USA that are considering their own new pot laws. For that reason, the decriminalizing of cannabis in Washington DC will be almost as important as the recent decisions to legalize pot in Colorado and Washington state.
The full story is here in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marijuana-likely-to-be-decriminalized-in-dc/2013/10/27/238b83c4-3dbe-11e3-b7ba-503fb5822c3e_story.html
October 29th 2013