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DC councilman calls for $25, $100 fines for pot

Tuesday - 1/14/2014, 3:57pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- District of Columbia Councilmember Tommy Wells is proposing fines of $25 and $100 for possessing or smoking marijuana in a bid to decriminalize small amounts of pot.

Wells has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on a bill to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Instead, those found with marijuana would face civil fines and seizures of the pot. Wells is proposing a fine of $25 for possessing marijuana and $100 for smoking it.

Currently under D.C. law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Wells says the racial disparities in arrests for small amounts of marijuana demand reforms in the criminal justice system.

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