Bill to legalize pot in DC could make Nov. ballot

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A campaign to get a marijuana legalization bill on the November ballot has twice the number of required signatures, according to officials behind the campaign.

The D.C. Cannabis Campaign says they have collected over 57,000 signatures to place Initiative #71, a bill that would legalize marijuana in the District, on November's General Election ballot.

The petitions were submitted to the Board of Elections on Monday for review. If the campaign collected at least 22,373 valid signatures from registered D.C. voters, the bill can go on the November ballot.

"I think this shows we have broad base support for drug policy reform in the District of Columbia. We have signatures from all eitght wards," said Dr. Malik Burnett, Vice Chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign.

Dr. Burnett said that African-Americans bare the burden of marijuana-related arrests. He stressds that drug use should not be viewed through a criminal scope but a health scope.

"91 percent of the arrests of people in the District of Columbia for drug possession - 91 percent of them are African-Americans," said Dr. Burnett. "Locking people in jail for drug use is bad public policy and does not provide the help that the people using those drugs desperately need."

Policy riders could still prevent the D.C. Board of Elections from using its funds to print the ballots that include Initiative #71.

Campaign organizers say it took less than 75 days to collect the signatures.


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