05/16/2013 09:58 am ET

D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Led By Marion Barry And Tommy Wells, To Be Introduced As Early As Summer

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WASHINGTON -- The fight to decriminalize marijuana possession in Washington, D.C., just got an unlikely ally: former mayor and current city councilman Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).

Barry and fellow council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) are drafting legislation that would reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

“It’s time we enter the 21st century and stop criminalizing people... for what is not really a major crime," Wells told The Washington Post.

Council chairman Phil Mendelson, however, doesn't believe Congress would approve a pot decriminalization bill in the nation's capital.

The Post reports the bill to decriminalize marijuana in D.C. could be introduced by summer.

Fifteen states have passed laws decriminalizing marijuana and 18 states (including D.C.) permit pot for medicinal use.

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