- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A watered-down version of legislation to decriminalize marijuana passed the D.C. Council on Tuesday amid late concerns over public pot smoking.

Amendments backed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier were added to the bill, ensuring it would remain a criminal offense to smoke marijuana in public.

The amended bill, which passed the council 11-1 and still faces a final vote, draws a significant distinction between penalties for marijuana use and possession.

Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would be punishable by a civil fine of $25, yet the public smoking of the drug would carry a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail under the bill.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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