For D.C. Nightlife, Marijuana Brings on a Hazy Cloud of What-Ifs

It was Election Day in the District, but as Ian Hilton walked past a polling place on Vermont Avenue NW, he was stunned to detect the pungent scent of pot in the air.

“Usually, I don’t smell anyone smoking a joint out in public,” said Hilton, who owns several D.C. bars with his musician brother, Eric.

It wasn’t even clear yet whether Washingtonians would vote to legalize weed, but the distinctive aroma wafting toward his nostrils had Hilton bracing himself. He wondered: Will pot-smoking bar patrons be his next big headache?

The marijuana initiative on the ballot went on to win the resounding approval of 69 percent of Washington voters, but it could be months before the District is legally lighting up. Even then, it’ll have to be behind closed doors, because smoking weed in public will still be illegal.

But for bar owners and others entrenched in the city’s nightlife, it’s hard not to inhale the hazy pot cloud of what-ifs.

– Read the entire article at The Washington Post.