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The District of Columbia will move forward with its plan to legalize marijuana, despite disapproval from Congress.

The law will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser. “D.C. residents spoke loud and clear,” she said at an event on Tuesday with the City Council.

Voters in D.C. approved a marijuana legalization initiative in November, but because the District isn’t a state, it’s subject to special oversight by Congress (which decided to rain on the parade, of course).

Congress passed a spending bill in December that forbids D.C. officials from using federal funds to implement marijuana legalization. That’s blocked the city from creating a regulatory framework for legal pot sales, but, according to Mayor Bowser, it doesn’t stop the District from enacting legalization.

Once the law takes effect, District residents age 21 or older will be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants, but not consume the drug in public. City officials describe the program as “home use and home grow,” according to Martin Austermuhle, a reporter for WAMU 88.5 FM.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said preparing for the new law is “not as complicated as it seems.” She’s training police so that they know how to spot two ounces of marijuana (they won’t have scales, she said).

Under the law, residents will be able to transfer up to an ounce of marijuana to another person, but not for payment (isn’t this how the hippies once imagined it?)

The mayor said she would ask the City Council to approve an emergency measure that would prevent D.C. residents from forming private marijuana clubs, where residents would pay a membership fee to consume communally. A fact sheet released by the city said the District is not going to turn into another Amsterdam.

The move to legalize in Washington is complicated by the presence of the federal government. Marijuana will not be legal on federal land and residents in public housing could be subject to enforcement from federal agencies.

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Article source: http://fusion.net/story/53984/dc-set-to-legalize-marijuana-on-thursday-at-midnight/