DC Bans Private Marijuana Clubs, Making Legalization Even Murkier

Where's Weed

Published on 4/18/16

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Washington DC is sending mixed messages to local tokers after passing a bill banning cannabis clubs, leaving the only place left to smoke, at home. While alcohol is made available in any bar or liquor store, cannabis culture remains in a shroud of uncertainty with home grows and possession being made legal, but consumption in public and even private cannabis clubs is now prohibited. Those living under landlords who prohibit smoking, or living in federally subsidized housing are left with no where to practice this completely legal activity. Advocates are convinced if lawmakers are so concerned about letting smokers socialize in private clubs, they will likely renounce legalization as a whole. 

The pot-club ban just makes DC’s form of legalization more strange and uncomfortable. Its brief language is rather broad—”consumption” is not specified as meaning smoking or eating foods made with marijuana—and raises fears that businesses could be shut down. Clubs would potentially appeal to medicinal users who can’t travel to one of DC’s few clinics, tenants whose landlords do not permit using marijuana on their properties, or residents of federally subsidized housing, where US law overrules the local drug code. Nadeau said during the hearing that the ban could result in a one-strike enforcement policy that shuts down businesses after a single violation.