District of Columbia
Last Update: April 4, 2014
D.C. Council passes, mayor signs, decriminalization bill!
On March 31, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed legislation to end arrests for marijuana possession in our nation's capital. The bill, sponsored by Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells, will remove all criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of $25. Police will also no longer have grounds to search individuals simply based on the smell of marijuana. In other words, outside of Colorado and Washington, our nation’s capital will soon have the least punitive marijuana laws in the country. For more information on the measure, please see our overview of the ordinance.
The bill hasn’t taken effect yet, though. Before it can become law, it must undergo a 60-working-day review process in Congress, so it will likely become law in July. Subscribe to our email alerts to be the first to know when it does.
In the meantime, ending arrests is only a great first step. Fixing our broken marijuana laws means taking sales out of the underground market that benefits criminals and drug cartels and putting the industry in the hands of tax-paying, law-abiding businesses. Please ask your council member to take this next step by co-sponsoring Councilmember Grosso’s bill to tax and regulate marijuana.
D.C.’s medical marijuana program still too restrictive
Washington, D.C., like 20 states around the country, allows residents who qualify to purchase and possess marijuana for medical purposes. Unfortunately, the program is only available to those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and conditions like multiple sclerosis that cause muscle spasticity. If you have one of these conditions, and would like to know more about medical marijuana in the District, talk to your doctor and visit the District Department of Health’s medical marijuana program website. You can also contact any of the three dispensaries operating in D.C.: Metropolitan Wellness Center at Eastern Market, Capital City Care on North Capitol Street, and Takoma Wellness Center in Takoma Park.
If you don’t qualify now, the good news is that Department of Health can expand the list of qualifying conditions and is appointing an advisory committee to consider doing so. MPP is fighting hard to make the program available to all D.C. residents whose doctors think they could benefit. Stay tuned to our email alerts for updates as implementation of the program continues.
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