Wells, who is running for mayor, filed a bill with the D.C. Council that would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation.
“Criminalization of marijuana does not work,” Wells said, framing the measure as a move toward social justice.
The council has postponed consideration until next month. Councilmembers may craft amendments in the meantime.
If approved and signed by Gray, the measure would be subject to a 60-day congressional review period. Congress has in the past used policy riders on District appropriations to shape local drug laws, but with prominent leaders evolving on the issue, reaction is hard to predict.
The U.S. Attorney’s office, the criminal prosecutor for the District, has not made a public statement on the proposal. Decriminalization could also pose an interesting legal dilemma on the Capitol campus, where the Capitol Police have the authority to enforce both D.C. Code and U.S. Code.
The council plans to take up pot policy during its Feb. 4 meeting.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.