Washington, DC

How does your state measure up when it comes to establishing policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition?

Harm Reduction


Does the state permit access to clean syringes for people who inject drugs?

  • YES

Does the state have naloxone training & distribution programs available to the public at syringe exchange programs or other facilities?

  • YES

Does the state have a 911 Good Samaritan law?

  • YES

Does the state have legal methadone access?

  • YES

Marijuana


Are marijuana possession and use legal for medical purposes?

  • YES

Is there a government-regulated distribution system for medical marijuana?

  • YES

More information on medical marijuana:

What are the criminal penalties for marijuana possession?

Criminal Justice


How many people are arrested for a drug offense each year? 

  • 210

What are the racial disparities in arrest rates?

  • Total population (2011): 42.4% white, 50.7% black.
    Drug Arrests (2011): 10.0% white, 89.5% black.

What happens to people’s voting rights when they become part of the criminal justice system?

  • Vote restored after: Term of Incarceration

Drug Policy Alliance Details What Public Needs to Know About New D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Law

Today is Day One for Far-Reaching Decriminalization Law in the Nation’s Capital

Persons Caught With Up to One Ounce of Marijuana in D.C. Are Fined $25 by D.C. Police Officers

Washington, D.C. – A far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law took effect in the District of Columbia today that replaces jail time with a $25 fine for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. However, advocates emphasize that there is still more work to be done in the nation’s capital to reduce severe racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement by D.C. police officers.

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Grant Smith (202) 421-5031

D.C.'s Marijuana Decriminalization Law: What You Need to Know

July 17, 2014

On Thursday, July 17, 2014, the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-305)” took effect in the District of Columbia, and makes possession of marijuana punishable by a $25 fine instead of jail time. This new law is expected to enhance civil rights in the District of Columbia by reducing racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession.

Thursday: Far-Reaching Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect in the Nation's Capital

Persons Caught With Up to One Ounce of Marijuana Will Be Fined $25 by D.C. Police Officers

House Republicans Want to Overturn Law While White House Defends It

Washington, D.C. – A far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law takes effect in the District of Columbia Thursday that replaces jail time with a $25 fine for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, ending a year-long effort in the nation’s capital to reduce severe racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement by D.C. police officers. The “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014” takes effect tomorrow despite an ongoing Republican-led effort in Congress to block D.C. officials from implementing the law.

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Dr. Malik Burnett (202) 683-2983

White House Opposes Republican Amendment Undermining D.C. Marijuana Law Reform

Calls Marijuana Reform a States’ Rights & Home Rule Issue

D.C. Council Passes Resolution Condemning Congressional Interference

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

District of Columbia Lawmakers Expected to Pass Emergency Resolutions Today Opposing Republican-Led Effort in Congress to Block Marijuana Law Reform in D.C.

D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Law Slated to Take Effect on Thursday

Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Expected to Go Before D.C. Voters in November

Washington, D.C. – This morning the Council of the District of Columbia is expected to pass two emergency resolutions opposing a recent effort led by U.S. House Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) to use congressional oversight to block the District of Columbia from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to enact marijuana reform.

Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Dr. Malik Burnett (202) 683-2983

Monday: DC Campaign Will Submit 58,000 Signatures to Place Marijuana Legalization on November Ballot

Photo-Op at 10am and National Press Teleconference at 12 pm Noon: D.C. Elected Officials and Campaign Staff to Address Initiative’s Impact on Marijuana Arrests, Racial Justice, DC Home Rule, and City Council Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

D.C. Hoping to Follow Colorado and Washington, as Polls Show Over 60% Support for Legalization Among DC Residents

Monday at 10 a.m., the D.C. Cannabis Campaign will submit 58,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections at 441 4th Street NW Suite 250,  in order to place Initiative 71 on the November ballot. The Board of Elections will have 30 days to verify that the campaign has the required 23,780 signatures to qualify.

Contact: Tony Newman, 646-335-5384 or Dr. Malik Burnett, 202-683-2983

DC Cannabis Campaign Collects Over 55,000 Signatures to Place Marijuana Legalization Initiative on General Election Ballot

Members of Congress May Take Away DC Voter’s Right to Vote on Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC — In less than 75 days, the DC Cannabis Campaign has collected more than twice the number signatures required to place Initiative 71 on November’s General Election ballot.  However, the Campaign is alarmed that members of Congress may prevent District voters from being able to vote on the ballot initiative due to policy riders that were added to the District of Columbia’s 2015 appropriation budget.

Contact: Dr. Malik Burnett (443) 821-0260 or Adam Eidinger (202) 744-2671

Republicans Vote to Block Washington, D.C.'s New Marijuana Decriminalization Law

Fight Over Amendment Expected to Move Next to House Floor

Amendment Takes Effect Long After D.C. Marijuana Law Takes Effect, Meaning It May Only Prevent the City from Issuing $25 Fines for Marijuana Possession, Creating De Facto Legalization

Washington, D.C. – This morning the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) prohibiting the District of Columbia from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana. The amendment is directed at a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine.

Contact:  Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Tomorrow: Republicans in Congress May Seek to Block Washington, D.C. from Reforming Its Marijuana Laws

Congressional Interference Comes After D.C. Lawmakers Decriminalize Marijuana to Ease Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Washington, D.C. – Republicans may offer an amendment to a federal appropriations bill tomorrow morning that would prevent the District of Columbia from implementing the marijuana decriminalization law recently passed by the D.C. City Council and signed into law by the mayor in March. The amendment would prohibit spending federal funds or even its locally raised funds to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.
 

Contact:   Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Grant Smith (202) 421-5031

D.C. Police Chief Orders No Drug or Alcohol-Related Arrests for People Protected by D.C. Overdose Prevention Law

D.C. Law Encourages Calling 911 in Drug Overdose Cases; Some Drug and Alcohol Law Violations Not a Crime When Help is Sought

D.C. Part of National Momentum to Fight Overdose Deaths with 911 Good Samaritan Laws and Increased Naloxone Access

In a recent memorandum, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier has instructed her police force to observe protections from arrest and charge granted under a D.C. law designed to encourage residents to seek immediate medical assistance for a person experiencing an overdose. The Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Amendment Act of 2012 (#A19-564), which was passed by the D.C.

Contact:  Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Grant Smith 202-421-5031

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