District of Columbia
Last Update: July 17, 2014
D.C. decriminalization bill takes effect!
On July 17, the marijuana decriminalization bill approved by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Vincent Gray officially took effect! The new law, sponsored by Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells, removes all criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine of $25. In addition, the simple smell of marijuana no longer gives a police officer grounds to conduct a search of an individual. In other words, outside of Colorado and Washington, our nation’s capital has the least punitive marijuana laws in the country. For more information on the measure, please see our overview of the ordinance.
It is important to note that this is only a change in District law, not federal law. Marijuana possession on federal lands, including the National Mall, is still a criminal offense and violators may be arrested and prosecuted..
Ending possession arrests is great first step toward fixing our broken marijuana laws. D.C. should ultimately take control of the marijuana market from criminals and drug cartels and put it in the hands of regulated, taxed, and responsible entrepreneurs. Please ask your councilmember to tax and regulate marijuana.
D.C. Council passes emergency legislation to temporarily amend the medical marijuana program
On July 14, the D.C. Council unanimously passed the Medical Marijuana Expansion Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 — legislation that will temporarily expand and improve upon the District’s medical marijuana program — on to Mayor Vincent Gray! If signed, this bill will allow physicians to recommend marijuana for any debilitating condition they think would respond favorably to the therapeutic use of marijuana and will increase the number of plants D.C.’s licensed cultivators may possess from 95 to 500. If you are a resident of the District, please email Mayor Gray and ask him to support this compassionate bill.
If signed, this emergency bill will immediately allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana to those suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and a host of other conditions that are currently not on the list of qualifying conditions, but that have been shown to benefit from marijuana to find relief. It will also ensure that our seriously ill friends and neighbors have access to the medicine their physicians think will work best for them. This legislation is only temporary, but gives the council the time it needs to enact a permanent solution.
If you have a qualifying condition 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.
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