D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Law Now in Effect

0
248

The new marijuana law decriminalizing marijuana took effect July 17 in D.C., after a 60-day congressional review period, making the District’s marijuana possession penalties among the lowest in the country.

Approved by the District of Columbia Council and signed by Mayor Vincent Gray last March, the law will loosen criminal penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of $25, similar to a parking ticket, to any iThe new marijuana law decriminalizing marijuana took effect July 17 in D.C., after a 60-day congressional review period, making the District’s marijuana possession penalties among the lowest in the country.

Approved by the District of Columbia Council and signed by Mayor Vincent Gray last March, the law will loosen criminal penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of $25, similar to a parking ticket, to any individual who possess one ounce or less marijuana.

Up until today, possession of any amount of marijuana was considered to be a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Police can no longer take action because they smell marijuana nor can they demand the presentation of government-issued ID to anyone who carries less than an ounce.

Despite the changes, a person can still be arrested for use of any amount of marijuana in a public space, selling any amount of marijuana to another person and operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana.

While many in D.C. applaud the lower penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, the new legislation does have its critics.

Delroy Burton, the chair of the D.C. Police Union, has criticized the law for being too vague and confusing when an officer may search or arrest someone on marijuana.
“This is not a simple issue,” Burton told the Washington Post. “It’s about enforcement and decriminalization and where you draw the line of what officers can do and cannot do. Our officers are going to have to go out there and enforce a convoluted mess.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation-wide organization that lobbied in support of the legislation, has expressed joy in the recent change.

“Public support for ending marijuana prohibition is at an all-time high nationwide,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is only fitting that our nation’s capital will have some of the lowest penalties in the country for adult marijuana possession. Criminalizing adults for using marijuana is quickly becoming an antiquated policy in the United States.”

Capecchi also argued that the new marijuana laws will make D.C. safer due to law enforcement officials spending more time in addressing serious crimes.
“Adults in the District will no longer face potentially life-altering criminal penalties simply for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol,” Capecchi said. “Our law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes. This law will make D.C. safer.”

Meanwhile, marijuana advocates have submitted petition signatures seeking to have D.C. residents vote in November on whether or not to follow the path that Colorado and Washington has taken in legalizing marijuana for casual use.

ndividual who possess one ounce or less marijuana.

Up until today, possession of any amount of marijuana was considered to be a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Police can no longer take action because they smell marijuana nor can they demand the presentation of government-issued ID to anyone who carries less than an ounce.

Despite the changes, a person can still be arrested for use of any amount of marijuana in a public space, selling any amount of marijuana to another person and operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana.

While many in D.C. applaud the lower penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, the new legislation does have its critics.

Delroy Burton, the chair of the D.C. Police Union, has criticized the law for being too vague and confusing when an officer may search or arrest someone on marijuana.
“This is not a simple issue,” Burton told the Washington Post. “It’s about enforcement and decriminalization and where you draw the line of what officers can do and cannot do. Our officers are going to have to go out there and enforce a convoluted mess.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation-wide organization that lobbied in support of the legislation, has expressed joy in the recent change.

“Public support for ending marijuana prohibition is at an all-time high nationwide,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is only fitting that our nation’s capital will have some of the lowest penalties in the country for adult marijuana possession. Criminalizing adults for using marijuana is quickly becoming an antiquated policy in the United States.”

Capecchi also argued that the new marijuana laws will make D.C. safer due to law enforcement officials spending more time in addressing serious crimes.
“Adults in the District will no longer face potentially life-altering criminal penalties simply for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol,” Capecchi said. “Our law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes. This law will make D.C. safer.”

Meanwhile, marijuana advocates have submitted petition signatures seeking to have D.C. residents vote in November on whether or not to follow the path that Colorado and Washington has taken in legalizing marijuana for casual use.

Share this:

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.