District of Columbia
Last Update: March 6, 2014
D.C. Council passes decriminalization bill!
On March 4, the D.C. Council passed legislation, sponsored by Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells, that ends arrests for marijuana possession in our nation’s capitol. The bill removes all criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and replaces 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.
The bill hasn’t taken effect yet, though. Before it can become law, it must be signed by the mayor and undergo a 60-working-day review process in Congress, so it will likely become law in late June or early 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 cosponsoring 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 condition, 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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