Readers will recall that the District of Columbia is 1) a jurisdiction in which marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, 2) a jurisdiction with an unusual system of governance, involving the United States Congress and 3) a jurisdiction in which the use of marijuana in public places is still illegal.
A few weeks ago, we wrote a post on the question of whether private clubs were public or private spaces for purposes of the marijuana consumption laws. Are these establishments public places where smoking is illegal, or private spaces where members would be free to light up or eat up? At the time, it appeared that the District government was unsure about the answer to that question and appointed a task force to study it.
Fast forward to yesterday, April 5, 2016, when the D. C. Council appeared to reverse itself and voted to make cannabis consumption at private clubs illegal. The vote was close, 7-6, which shows how divided even the city government is on this question. And where does this leave the task force, appointed so recently to study the issue, especially since the Mayor, who is opposed to marijuana clubs, still supports the idea of a task force? Good question for which we do not have an answer at this point. This means that other jurisdictions grappling with the question of whether to allow marijuana clubs that were looking to the District for guidance will have to look elsewhere.
The Washington Post (registration required) has an article that’s worth a read: D.C. Council bans pot clubs, reversing itself — again.
Rest assured, we’ll keep following this situation; further bulletins as events warrant!