US capital to vote in November on legalizing marijuana

Residents of the US capital will vote in November on whether to follow the states of Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana, following approval of the initiative Wednesday by its Board of Elections. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Residents of the US capital will vote in November on whether to follow the states of Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana, following approval of the initiative Wednesday by its Board of Elections. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Residents of the US capital will vote in November on whether to follow the states of Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana, following approval of the initiative Wednesday by its Board of Elections.

Campaigners said they had amassed more than 57,000 signatures - more than double the number required - on a petition to include legalization as part of the District of Columbia's November 4 election.

Ballot Initiative 71 would permit adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces (about 57 grams) of marijuana, give - but not sell - up to one ounce to other adults, and grow up to three marijuana plants per household.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which ranks it alongside heroin and LSD, but Colorado and Washington state broke the mold this year by becoming the first two states to legalize possession of small amounts.

Twenty-three states meanwhile permit the regulated sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes - as does the District of Columbia, which in July decriminalized possession to make it minor, ticketable offense.

"It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that the citizens of the district would like to have a say in reforming the marijuana laws of the District," said Malik Burnett, vice president of the DC Cannabis Campaign, in a statement.