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DC mayor urges caution on pot decriminalization

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News,Nation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington's mayor and police chief are concerned that a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana will lead to widespread pot smoking in public.

Mayor Vincent Gray said in a letter to the D.C. Council that a bill up for an initial vote Tuesday doesn't establish enough deterrents to public smoking.

The bill would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense. Smoking in public would incur a $100 fine that the mayor says people can easily ignore. He says he doesn't want to make smoking pot the equivalent of littering and that children shouldn't have to breathe marijuana smoke while they walk to school.

Gray says Police Chief Cathy Lanier is also concerned about the reemergence of open-air drug markets.

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