Washington DC reconsiders smoking ban

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Marijuana businesses could see expanded opportunities in Washington DC if local lawmakers allow a ban on smoking in businesses or public to expire.

Opponents of the ban, which effectively means that marijuana can only be consumed at home, testified recently that the city shouldn’t be in the habit of banning an activity in private businesses that’s legal for residents to do in their own homes.

If the ban does expire, it could open the door for new business opportunities by paving the way for cannabis clubs, which have been popping up intermittently in rec states, including Colorado and Alaska.

Standing in the way is Washington DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, who wants to make the ban permanent.

Washington DC voters legalized marijuana in 2014. Congress, which has some oversight of the Washington DC government, didn’t do much to block the initiative, but it did prohibit the city from adopting regulations on buying and selling marijuana, which remains illegal.

In March, the city council passed the law forbidding smoking cannabis in public places, which it defined broadly and to include private businesses. The law expires in January.

If a company is caught allowing cannabis to be smoked on its premises, its business license can be revoked after the first offense.