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


Are marijuana possession and use legal for medical purposes?

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

D.C. Council Reverses Opposition to Regulated Spaces to Consume Marijuana

Council Creates Taskforce to Explore Creation of Designated Spaces for Marijuana Use

Today the Council of the District of Columbia voted to halt consideration of legislation that would permanently ban adult consumption of marijuana outside the home, and instead moved forward with the creation of a taskforce to explore the establishment of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana in the District.


Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Kaitlyn Boecker  (402) 670-3773

D.C. Council Expected to Vote Tomorrow on Mayor Bowser's Marijuana Club Ban, Diluting the Will of D.C. Voters and Limiting Local Autonomy on Marijuana Policy

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson Pushes Bill Through the Council Despite Strong Opposition from the Public and Councilmembers

DPA: Public Favors Legal Regulation of Marijuana Clubs, Not A Ban; District residents are still fighting to have their voices heard

The Council of the District of Columbia plans to vote tomorrow on legislation that restricts adult marijuana use in the District, prohibiting marijuana consumption everywhere but the home. The legislation is opposed by a majority of District residents and a growing number of councilmembers who oppose limiting consumption of marijuana to the home, favoring instead the creation of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana. Councilmembers are expected to offer amendments to the measure to allow a limited number of marijuana clubs in the District.


Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Kaitlyn Boecker  (402) 670-3773

Poll: DC Residents Strongly Support Moving Forward with Regulation of Marijuana in the District

Findings Come on the Cusp of Initiative 71 Implementation Anniversary and Amid Heated Council Debate on Prohibiting Social Consumption of Marijuana 

Majority Oppose Congressional Interference with DC Law, View Marijuana Reform as a Statehood Issue, Believe Mayor Bowser Should Move to Tax & Regulate Marijuana, Support Regulated Venues for Social Consumption

WASHINGTON, D.C. –A substantial majority of District residents believe Mayor Bowser should move forward with taxation and regulation of marijuana despite Congressional prohibition, according to a survey conducted over the weekend by Public Policy Polling (PPP) for the Drug Policy Alliance, DC Vote, DC Working Families and the Washington City Paper. 66 percent of respondents believe the Mayor should pursue a legal method (such as use of reserve funds) to implement taxation and regulation of marijuana in the District.


Bill Piper (202)669-6430
Kaitlyn Boecker  (402) 670-3773

DC Council Committee on the Judiciary Permanently Bans Marijuana Consumption in Private Clubs

Drug Policy Alliance: “Chairman Mendelson and Mayor Bowser Rigged the Process Against the People”

Today the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on the Judiciary voted to dilute the will of District voters who approved Ballot Initiative 71 by passing unnecessary legislation largely outlawing adult marijuana use in the District. The passage of the controversial measure occurred under unusual circumstances. Almost no notice of the markup of the controversial bill was provided.


Kaitlyn Boecker  (202) 683-2987

Drug Policy Alliance to Host the Biennial 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in D.C. Metro Area, November 18-21

More Than 1,200 Experts and Advocates to Strategize About Mass Incarceration, Marijuana Legalization, Criminal Justice Reform, Public Health, and Post-Prohibition Models for Drug Control


Tony Newman (646)335-5384
Tommy McDonald (510)338-8827

Senate Appropriations Committee Allows Marijuana Legalization to Move Forward in Nation's Capital

Also Votes to Allow Banks to Provide Services to State-Legalized Marijuana Stores

Drug Policy Reform Moving Forward Nationally and in the States

A key Senate committee passed a bill today allowing the nation’s capital to establish regulated marijuana stores and let banks provide financial services to state-legalized marijuana dispensaries. These are just two of several marijuana reforms advancing in Congress.  Meanwhile sentencing reform is gaining steam, and the U.S. is shifting towards treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Michael Collins 404-539-6437

Marijuana Becomes Legal to Grow and Possess in Nation's Capital on Thursday

Congress Does Not Block D.C. Legalization

Advocates Urge D.C. Council to Tax and Regulate Marijuana Using District’s Reserve Funds 

WASHINGTON, DC—At 12:01a.m. Thursday, Initiative 71, a marijuana legalization ballot initiative approved by 70 percent of District residents, will complete the Congressional review period and become law. Initiative 71 legalizes the possession of two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and allows them to grow up to six plants in their home, three of which can be mature at any time.

Contact: Dr. Malik Burnett, 443-821-0260 or Bill Piper, 202-669-6430

D.C. Council to Hold Hearing on Marijuana Legalization, Taxation and Regulation in the District of Columbia

Policy Experts and Advocates to Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs

Hearing Occurs As Initiative 71 Undergoes 30-Day Congressional Review

D.C. Councilmembers are holding a joint public hearing today on legislation introduced earlier this year that would establish a system that legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital.

The hearing will take place today at 10am in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates will provide testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization toward rebuilding the communities most harmed by the war on drugs.

Contact: Dr. Malik Burnett, 443-821-0260 or Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Final Year-End Federal Spending Bill Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws

Spending Bill Allows Legalization of Marijuana Possession in Washington, D.C. to Move Forward, but Prevents Taxing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Momentum Builds Nationally to End the Failed War on Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The final “cromnibus” federal spending bill that Congress passed over the weekend contains historic language prohibiting the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws.

Contact: Michael Collins 404-539-6437 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Emerging Consensus that DC Marijuana Legalization Can Proceed

Congressional Leaders Agree that Legislative Intent of DC Rider in Spending Bill Allows Initiative 71 to Move Forward
Tax and Regulate Legislation Blocked By Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - Republicans were successful in including language in the “cromnibus” federal spending bill that interferes with the right of Washington, D.C. to set its own marijuana policies. The language, however, was not what they originally wanted because they had to compromise with Democrats. The D.C. marijuana rider inserted in the bill allows D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law (passed earlier this year) to stand, while prohibiting D.C. from taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol (a D.C.


Michael Collins 404-539-6437
Bill Piper 202-669-6430
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