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Public Statements

Decriminalizing Marijuana Laws

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, 18 States and the District of Columbia have rapidly decriminalized marijuana laws, making them subject only to fines. They did so for various reasons. None of those reasons were more solid or important than the Council's decision to decriminalize D.C.'s marijuana laws.

African Americans in the District of Columbia and Whites use marijuana at the same rate, but Blacks have an arrest record for possession eight times that of Whites. That's discrimination.

It is the same thing when Chairman John Mica of the Government Operations Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee decides to hold a hearing on D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization law but on no others. Two prior hearings have looked at marijuana decriminalization. None has called local public officials.

Be on notice. The District of Columbia insists that it not be treated any differently from the 18 States that have decriminalized marijuana and the States who have legalized it.

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