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?

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

HISTORIC VICTORY: Congress Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Top Congressional Leaders Side with States on Hemp Research and Medical Marijuana
 
Provisions on D.C. Marijuana Legalization Remain Unclear: Advocates Say Any Congressional Interference with Law that Passed with 70% Support is Outrageous

The final “must pass” federal spending bill that Congress will consider this week, also known as the “cromnibus,”and released by senior appropriators last night includes an amendment that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The spending bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that prohibits the DEA from blocking implementation of a federal law passed last year by Congress that allows hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research purposes in states that allow it.

Contact: Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Michael Collins (404-539-6437)

UPDATE: Congress Still Negotiating D.C. Marijuana Legalization

Appears Congress May Allow D.C. Legalization Law to Stand, But Block D.C. Council From Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

Opportunity to Restore Communities Most Harmed By War on Drugs in Jeopardy

In a dramatic turn of events, media reports suggest that Congress is still negotiating whether to overturn D.C.’s historic marijuana legalization initiative. Currently, sources are reporting that Congress is considering allowing Initiative 71, approved by 70% of District residents, to stand while preventing future action on the District of Columbia’s ability to tax and regulate marijuana. These reports stand in sharp contrast to a previously reported deal that would have stopped the ballot measure from taking effect.

Contact: Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Michael Collins (404-539-6437)

Congress Moving to Block D.C. Marijuana Legalization

Provisions in Must-Pass Spending Bill Would Overturn the Will of D.C. Voters

Civil Rights and Racial Justice Groups Send Open Letter to Democratic Leadership Encouraging Them to Stand Up for D.C. Voters

Media sources are reporting that members of Congress are negotiating provisions to a government funding bill that would block the nation’s capital in its efforts to legalize marijuana. Initiative 71 passed on Nov. 4, with 70% of voters approving the measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The language has been included in a must-pass funding bill that Congress will likely vote on later this week.

Contact: Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Michael Collins (404-539-6437)

Letters to Democratic Leadership Urging Them to Stand Up for DC Voters Who Overwhelmingly Voted to Legalize Marijuana

December 9, 2014

These letters to Democratic leadership reflect a broad coalition of support within the District of Columbia for supporting the right to self-determination and democracy.  Major civil rights organizations such as the ACLU, NAACP, NARAL, and National Organization for Women have signed on in support of 70% of voters who supported legalizing marijuana in the District of Columbia.

Washington D.C. Takes Major Step Toward Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

Panel of Councilmembers Approves Legislation that Would Establish Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana in the Nation’s Capital

Council Acts Just Weeks After Nearly 70 Percent of D.C. Voters Approved Ballot Measure Legalizing Marijuana

D.C. lawmakers voted today in favor of legislation that would legally regulate and license the production, distribution and sale of marijuana in the District of Columbia during a meeting of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which is chaired by D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large).

Contact:  Grant Smith, 202-669-6573 or Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Voters Across Country Accelerate Unprecedented Momentum to Legalize Marijuana, End Drug War

Alaska, Oregon and D.C. Pass Marijuana Legalization, as California and New Jersey Pass Groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reforms

DPA: Election Solidifies Drug Policy Reform as Mainstream Political Issue, Boosts Efforts to Legalize Marijuana in California and Elsewhere in 2016

Voters across the country have accelerated the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war, with marijuana legalization measures passing in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., while groundbreaking criminal justice reforms passed in California and New Jersey.

Contact:  Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Victory: Voters in Nation's Capital Legalize Marijuana!

D.C. Council Expected to Follow Voters’ Lead and Tax and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

Congressional Interference Will Prove Politically Difficult

According to NPR and USA Today, voters in the District of Columbia have approved Initiative 71, a ballot initiative that legalizes possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. D.C. laws prevented the ballot initiative from addressing the taxation and sale of marijuana, but the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill that would tax, regulate and strictly control the sale of marijuana to adults.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

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 Just Days Before Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization at Ballot Box 

D.C. Councilmembers Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 3) are holding a joint public hearing today on legislation introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) that would establish a system which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the Nation’s Capital. Councilmember Orange chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and Councilmember Evans chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

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

D.C. Marijuana Initiative Receives Major Civil Rights Endorsements from D.C. NAACP and the D.C. Branch of the National Organization of Women

Endorsements Come on the Heels of Recent Support from Local Chapters of the SEIU, D.C. Working Families, and UFCW

Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Releases Report on Collateral Consequences of Arrest

Today, the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the D.C. Branch of the National Organization for Women came out in support of marijuana legalization and endorsed D.C.’s Initiative 71.

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

D.C. Marijuana Legalization Initiative Receives Endorsement of Major Labor Organizations

D.C. Working Families, SEIU, and UFCW Endorse Initiative 71

Labor Groups Point to Elimination of Discriminatory Enforcement and Opportunities to Advance Worker Rights

Today, the Service Employees International Union, United Commercial Food Workers, and D.C.  Working Families endorsed Initiative 71, D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative. Initiative 71, which is on the November 4th ballot, would legalize the possession of up to two ounces marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and allows individuals to grow up to six plants in their home. D.C. laws prevent the ballot initiative from addressing the taxation and sale of marijuana, however, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which would account for such provisions.

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

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