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

Washington D.C. Takes Major Step Toward Ending Marijuana Possession Arrests

Wednesday: Councilmembers to Vote on Decriminalization Bill that Would Reduce Racial Disparities and Re-Prioritize Law Enforcement Resources

With Support of Mayor and Supermajority of Councilmembers, Marijuana Decriminalization Appears Imminent

D.C. lawmakers will vote Wednesday on legislation that would eliminate criminal penalties under District law for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use during a meeting of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The panel of five Councilmembers is expected to approve the measure. The bill would next go before all thirteen Councilmembers for final consideration.

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

This Week: Press Conference and D.C. Council Hearings on Marijuana Decriminalization

Legislation Urgently Needed After Recent Reports Find that One in Eight African Americans in D.C. are Arrested for Marijuana Possession

Drug Policy Alliance to Testify in Support of Decriminalization and Ask Councilmembers to Take Additional Steps to End Marijuana Prohibition

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

D.C. Introduces Legislation to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

Legislation Would Make Small Amounts of Marijuana Legal to Purchase and Possess

Historic Introduction Follows U.S. Department of Justice Decision to Allow Taxation and Regulation to Proceed in Colorado and Washington State

Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) will introduce legislation today before the Council of the District of Columbia that would eliminate all criminal and civil penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults over the age of 21 and provide the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration with the authority to license and regulate the production and taxable sale of marijuana in the District.

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

Study Cites Racial Disparities in D.C. Arrests

A new study by a group of civil rights lawyers says that black people in Washington are disproportionately arrested for minor drug offenses and other petty crimes, which the group’s director says has essentially “criminalized a large portion of the African American community.”
 

D.C. Councilmember Introduces Legislation to Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession in the District of Columbia

Momentum Builds for Marijuana Law Reform Following Major ACLU Findings of Racial Disparities, Money Wasted on D.C. Marijuana Arrests

Recent Poll Finds Three Out of Four D.C. Voters Want to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) will introduce legislation today before the Council of the District of Columbia that would eliminate criminal penalties under District law for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The legislation would subject a person in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to a $100 civil fine. Juveniles additionally would have to complete a drug awareness program under the proposal. Failure by a juvenile to complete a drug awareness program within a year would result in the provision of a $200 fine and court-ordered community service.

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

Momentum Builds for Marijuana Law Reform in the District of Columbia

ACLU Report Finds D.C. Leads All 50 States in Per Capita Marijuana Arrests and Money Wasted

Recent Poll Finds Three Out of Four D.C. Voters Want to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

D.C. Councilmembers Plan Legislation to Reduce Penalties for Possession; Nations Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Calls for Elimination of All Penalties for Drug Possession

District of Columbia residents are arrested for marijuana possession at greater rates than residents of any U.S. state and D.C. taxpayers pay more per capita on marijuana arrests in the country, according to a groundbreaking report issued yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union that examines nationwide state and county marijuana arrest data by race.

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

Poll: Three Out of Four Washington, D.C. Voters Want to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession Under District Law

Nearly two-thirds would support a ballot measure to make marijuana legal for adults and establish a system in which it is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol

Statements below from the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the sponsor of the poll

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three out of four Washington, D.C. voters would support changing District law to replace criminal penalties for possession of limited amounts of marijuana with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket, according to a survey conducted last week by Public Policy Polling. Two-thirds (67%) said they believe law enforcement resources currently being used by District police to arrest individuals for marijuana possession should be directed toward other crimes.

Contact:

Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance
202-669-6430, bpiper@drugpolicy.org

Morgan Fox, Marijuana Policy Project
202-905-2031, mfox@mpp.org
 
Adam Eidinger, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
202-744-2671, adam@mintwood.com

D.C. Law to Help Prevent Overdose Deaths To Take Effect; D.C. Joins Ten States in Passing Good Samaritan Law

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

Twice As Many Overdose Deaths in 2010 as Traffic-Related Fatalities; Nearly 900 Overdose Deaths in D.C. Since 2003

On Tuesday, March 19th, a new District of Columbia law takes effect that provides limited legal protection for those who witness or experience a drug overdose and summon medical assistance. The majority of overdose victims are in the presence of others and do not die until several hours after they have taken a drug, meaning that there is both time and opportunity to summon medical assistance.  Fear of arrest and prosecution often prevents people who are in a position to help from calling 911.

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

DC Bill 19-754: Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Amendment Act of 2012

This is the text of the District of Columbia's Good Samaritan law.

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