A collection of clones on display in a California cannabis dispensary.

Shango Los

D.C. Council Votes to Permanently Ban Cannabis Clubs

In a 7-6 vote, the Washington D.C. Council moved Tuesday to ban cannabis clubs, despite fervent opposition to the move from some members of the council, as well as cannabis activists.

Tuesday’s vote represents the council’s second reversal regarding pot clubs in the past four months amid the vicissitudes of public opinion on the issue.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, said that the council members were “doing the right thing” as she watched them vote Tuesday. Bowser has insisted that cannabis clubs are the wrong choice for the city.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, another Democrat, pushed for the ban. Mendelson has been concerned about the public consumption of cannabis since D.C. voters legalized its possession and use in 2014. He got the ban on Tuesday’s agenda with the help of Democratic council member Kenyan R. McDuffie. Mayor Bowser’s supporters on the council backed the vote.

In response, the Marijuana Policy Project released a statement decrying the vote, stating that it runs in opposition to “the freedoms that the vast majority of the voters support.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, meanwhile, made a civil rights case in favor of pot clubs, arguing that they would have created protected spaces for both whites and people of color to consume marijuana safely. Currently, people of color in D.C. are charged with public consumption of the drug at a higher rate than are white residents.

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