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In November of 2014, Washington D.C. residents voted in Initiative 71 to make recreational marijuana use and possession legal for adults over 21 years old.  The  new legislation was inspired by reports from American Civil Liberties Union and other groups which documented enormous racial disparities in the number of arrests for marijuana possession in D.C.  It was discovered that Washington D.C. led the country in per capita marijuana arrests. Twice the rate of an state in America.  The majority of the arrest were due to possession of marijuana and ninety-one percent of the offenders were persons of color.

The new law legalizes marijuana possession but does not allow cannabis products to be sold in retail venues. Despite political wrangling and protests from members of Congress, the law went into effect on February 26, 2015.

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