Small Victory: DC Council Creates Task Force on Social Cannabis Use

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTED THE DC COUNCIL TO #AMENDTHEBAN!

Today the DC Council voted to create a Task Force that will develop recommendations on how the District of Columbia should go forward with social cannabis use.

The Task Force is to be composed of the following persons or their designees:

  • The Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration
  • The Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
  • The Director of the Department of Health
  • The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department
  • The Attorney General for the District of Columbia
  • Two members of the Council of the District of Columbia, as appointed
    by the Council

The Task Force has 120 days to create a report that shall include but not be limited to the following:

  • Effective ways to regulate venues to ensure the health and safety of staff, members, and invitees and the health and safety of the nearby public and the general public
  • Hours of operation
  • Occupancy limits
  • Whether food or beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) may be sold on the premise
  • The District agencies that should be involved in regulating the venues
  • Security plans
  • The amount of marijuana an individual shall be permitted to possess at the venue
  • Whether a venue can store marijuana for a member, or invitee, of a venue
  • Penalties for violating the regulations
  • Licensing, including the requirements for licensure, such as proof of compliance with all applicable District laws, the application procedure, and fee structure
  • Cost of membership or admission
  • The limitations as to the location and the number of venues allowed to operate in the District
  • How all District residents can utilize the benefits of Initiative 71
  • Whether venues can operate in the District
  • Any other recommendations

Click here to download the PDF of the Task Force amendment passed by the DC Council

We look forward to working with the Task Force!



NBC Washington: DC Lawmakers Open Door to Pot Smoking in Private Clubs




WJLA: D.C. Council votes unanimously to study how city can allow pot smoking in private clubs

RSVP for the 2016 DCMJ Planning Meetings

Sorry Meeting is Full!

If you can’t attend this week’s meeting, we are meeting every two weeks at the following dates & locations:

DATE: Wednesday, February 17, 2016
TIME: 7-8:30PM
LOCATION: ANACOSTIA PUBLIC LIBRARY, Ora Glover Community Room
ADDRESS: 1800 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, DC 20020
CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK

DATE: Wednesday, March 2, 2016
TIME: 7-8:30PM
LOCATION: SHAW NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY, Watha T. Daniel Meeting Room
ADDRESS: 1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK

DATE: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
TIME: 7-8:30PM
LOCATION: CAPITOL VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY, CAV Meeting Room
ADDRESS: 5001 Central Ave SE, Washington, DC 20019
CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK

Photos & Video of Catharsis on the Mall

A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who helped make Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing the Drug War a HUGE success. To pay for this free event, we are still trying to hit our goal of $4,000, so please donate a little green! We hope to organize this type vigil again and have created a Facebook Page to help get the word out. Donations are used entirely to offset costs of building materials, permits, and rentals.


The Temple of Essence was open to the public for 24 hours allowing people to write on the walls inside messages about the drug war.
Michael Verdon’s Temple of Essence was open to the public for 24 hours allowing people to write on the walls inside messages about the drug war.(Photo by Kenny Reff)


Photo by Cherry Savoy
More than 1000 people attended a midnight burning of artist Michael Verdon’s Temple of Essence on the national Mall on November 21, 2015. Contained inside the temple were all copies of petitions signed by 56,000 people that put Initiative 71 on the ballot to legalize marijuana. (Photo by Cherry Savoy)

Once burning Verdon's temple transformed by fire into a rendition of a jail cell.  Only when the lotus shaped temple burned down could one see the bars of the cell which eventually collapsed to the cheers of all in attendance.
Once burning Verdon’s temple transformed by fire into a rendition of a jail cell. Only when the lotus shaped temple burned down could one see the bars of the cell which eventually collapsed to the cheers of all in attendance. (Photo by Kenny Reff)


Check out some more photos from Catharsis: DCist, Kenny Reff, Ben Droz, Matt Eclair, William Tanksley, and many more on the Facebook Event Page.


#ShowYourGrow – Photos of DC’s Legal Indoor Cannabis Gardens

Send us photos of your indoor garden!

As we gear up toward this Fall’s first legal cannabis harvest in Washington, DC, we’d love to share photos of your indoor cannabis gardens. Dubbed #ShowYourGrow on Twitter, we’d like to start including photographs in future DCMJ emails, as well as showcase them here on the website.

Please email your indoor garden photos to ShowYourGrow@DCMJ.org and indicate in your email whether you want to remain Anonymous or if you want your name published, the name of the strains (if known) in the photo, and the Ward your indoor garden is located in (or your Zipcode if you don’t know your Ward). Please send us your favorite photo instead of multiple photos! Unfortunately, we will not use photos that have been taken outdoors.

IMPORTANT: if you are sending us (or strangers!) photos taken from your phone, be sure to remove the GPS info in the photo’s EXIF data. Click here for a decent guide on how to strip the GPS data from your photos. Why remove the GPS data? When you take the photo and share it, you may be telling everyone the precise location of where your indoor garden is located and may be inviting some unwanted company.


Check out the #ShowYourGrow photos:


Anonymous – Ward 1 – Unknown Strain



Tyler – Ward 1 – Pineapple Punch



Susan Remmers – Ward 1 – Unknown Strains



Chester – Ward 1 – White Widow



Anonymous – Ward 1 – Blue Cheese



IRoc Green – Ward 2 – Georgetown Skunk Haze



Mimi – Ward 3 – OG Kush



@CannagrowDC – Ghost Ship – Ward 3



Anonymous – Ward 4 – White Widow



Devin – Ward 4 – Unknown Strain



Juan from www.DCCoGo.com – Ward 4 – Deep Purple Kush & White Widow



YogiTree – Ward 4 – Girl Scout Cookies



YogiTree – Ward 4 – GSC, Sensi Star, Blueberry



Tony Parker – Ward 4 – Rude Boi OG



Uptown-town Grow – Ward 4 – White Widow



Mr. Childs – Ward 4 – Purple Pineberry



Farmer Greg – Ward 4 – Nebula



DeeCee Grow – Ward 4 – Unknown Strain



Henry Chinasky – Ward 4 – Unknown Strain, Maui Waui, and Haze #1



Shane – Ward 4 – OG Kush



Darthvapor – Ward 4 – Starcloud



Anonymous – Ward 5 – Blue Diesel



Anonymous – Ward 5 – Unknown Strain



Cameron – Ward 5 – “Cash Crop” & “Auto Shark”



Anonymous – Ward 5 – “Urban Poison” & “NYPD”



BloomingdaleBud – Ward 5 – Blue Kush, Amnesia Haze, Northern Lights, and NYC Diesel



Chuck Diesel – Ward 5 – Blue Dream, Lemon Kush, Blueberry, Afghan Kush, Iced Widow



Anonymous – Ward 5 – Afghan Skunk, Blue Dream, Tangerine Dream and Pineapple Express



Flip Thompson – Ward 6 – “Fast and Vast”



Meowiecat – Ward 6 – Autoflower Northern Lights



Singing Bud – Ward 6 – M3



Anonymous – Ward 6 – Strawberry Blue



Anonymous – Ward 6 – Dark Angel



Anonymous – Ward 6 – Pineapple Chunk



Lionshare NE – Ward 7- Unknown Strain



Monica – Ward 7 – M3



DC Pharma – Ward 7 – Unknown Strain + THC Bomb



Anonymous – Ward 8 – Unknown Strain



BlaQue, The Authoress – Ward 8 – Train Wreck & Purp



BlaQue, The Authoress – Ward 8 – Purple Haze



Dank Boy’z – Ward 8 – Mrs. Buttersworth (Apricot Kush X Girl Scout Cookies)



Dante – Ward 8 – Lemon Kush & Northern Lights


(Last Updated July 16, 2015)

E-mail ShowYourGrow@DCMJ.org to submit your photos!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MARIJUANA IN WASHINGTON, DC

Now that we enacted Ballot Initiative 71 on November 4, 2014, many people still have questions about the status of marijuana in Washington, DC. Here’s the latest:

Ballot Initiative 71

  • Ballot Initiative 71 was certified on December 3, 2014 and transferred to Congress on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
  • Ballot Initiative 71 became law at 12:01am, Thursday, February 26, 2015
  • Ballot Initiative 71 allows DC residents 21 and older the right to:
    • Possess up to two ounces of marijuana outside one’s home
    • Grow up to 3 mature marijuana plants inside one’s home
    • Allows growers to keep all the marijuana grown at home
    • Give, but not sell, up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult
  • DOES NOT allow anyone to sell marijuana because the Home Rule Act prevented us from putting a “tax & regulate” question in the ballot
  • DOES NOT allow public consumption of marijuana. You can still get arrested for smoking a joint on the sidewalk!

Decriminalization of Marijuana

  • The decriminalization of marijuana possession legislation passed out of the District Council on March 4, 2014 and after Congressional review became DC law on July 17, 2014
  • The decriminalization of marijuana possession DOES NOT allow public consumption of marijuana. Public use can result in an arrest and confiscation of your marijuana
  • Under the decriminalization of marijuana possession law, the smell of marijuana DOES NOT give police officers probable cause for search & seizure of your marijuana
  • If caught with up to an ounce of marijuana, the police will take your marijuana and paraphernalia, and write you a $25 ticket
  • Decriminalization IS NOT Legalization!

Medical Marijuana

  • Medical marijuana IS LEGAL in Washington, DC but only for patients that have registered with the DC Department of Health
  • There are currently over 4,000 medical cannabis patients in DC who purchase their taxed & regulated cannabis from 3 dispensaries in Washington, DC

What about Federal Land in Washington, DC?

Approximately 21% of the land in Washington, DC is managed by the federal government, which is governed by federal laws, not local DC laws. This means Ballot Initiative 71, the decriminalization of marijuana law, and the medical marijuana law are not in effect on federal lands in Washington, DC. Therefore, possession of marijuana on federal lands such as Rock Creek Park, the National Mall, around the Dupont Circle fountain, and Malcolm X Park is still an arrestable offense.


Please join us as we work toward implementing Ballot Initiative 71:

Call & Email the DC Council! #AmendTheBan

We won, then we lost, but we still won! Here's why:

The January 4th Legislative Meeting of the DC Council was a rollercoaster and we expect the February 1st meeting to be just as exciting. First the DC Council voted to #LetTheBanExpire, then the Mayor called members of the DC Council and told them to have a revote on the ban, and after the second vote the DC Council renewed the ban on social cannabis use…

Sounds like we lost, but we didn’t. Here’s why: the DC Council is going to amend the ban before it becomes permanent law. We believe the amended version will be less broad and carve out exceptions for adult use outside of private residences. In the meantime, nothing changes- the ban from 2015 is in place for at least 90 more days, but we now have the opportunity to fix the law before it becomes permanent, but we need everyone to step up their efforts and lobby the DC Council about the need to #AmendTheBan.

We are looking to you to come up with proposed solutions! Ballot Initiative 71 never made it illegal to consume cannabis “any place to which the public is invited,” rather the DC Council passed that law and in an attempt to clarify which places “any place” means they created an overly broad ban and we are going to need your continued support to amend this hastily written law before it becomes permanent.

Yesterday we also found out who are our allies on the DC Council when it comes to cannabis prohibition and which DC Councilmembers need to be educated more about the need to allow adults to be able to use cannabis outside their homes.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau was yesterday’s rockstar. If you have a moment, send her an email thanking her for the leadership she displayed yesterday!

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans also supported letting the ban expire. If you have a moment, send him an email thanking him for his leadership.

At-Large Councilmembers Vincent Orange & David Grosso also voted to let the ban expire. If you have a moment, send them an email thanking them for their leadership. Click here to email Councilmember Orange / Click here to email Councilmember Grosso

Unfortunately, the majority of the DC Council needs to be educated on why the ban needs to be amended, please click on their email addresses to send them a pre-written email.


SEND EMAILS TODAY!

SUBJECT: Amend the Social Ban!
BODY: Councilmember [ Insert Councilmember ],

At the upcoming Legislative Meeting please vote in support of amending the ban on social cannabis use. I hope that you understand that adults deserve a place to consume cannabis away from their children and away from federally owned property.

Ballot Initiative 71 doesn’t say or imply “Home Grow, Home Use,” as some people want you to believe. In reality it says something closer to “Home Grow, Adult Use.” Nowhere in the ballot initiative does it say adults should only be allowed to use cannabis at home. Rather, it’s DC’s Decriminalization of Marijuana law that you passed that forces adults to only be able to use cannabis at home.

Moreover, there is a common misconception about private “cannabis clubs” you need to better understand. As you know, the sale of cannabis is not permitted under Initiative 71, even indirectly. Therefore paying fees for club membership in order to receive “free” cannabis is not legal either. Advocates are NOT seeking places for adults to attempt to circumvent the law in order to illicitly purchase cannabis, rather, we are seeking safe places where adults can congregate and consume cannabis together that are not at people’s homes. There is a big difference!

Allowing adults to consume cannabis together at licensed venues is better than the status quo of only at private residences. By permitting social cannabis use ONLY at private residences, the DC government CANNOT REGULATE:

— The checking of IDs to ensure everyone inside the residence is 21 years of age or older
— Whether the home has working smoke detectors
— Whether the home has working fire extinguishers
— Whether the home has illuminated exit signs
— Whether the home has a maximum number of people allowed inside
— Whether the home is properly zoned to handle large numbers of people
— Whether the home does not have licensed kitchen to ensure proper food handling
— Whether the home may be on federal property
— Whether the home may expose children to second-hand cannabis smoke
— Whether the home is ADA-compliant

The only thing the DC Government can regulate is the SOUND. Neighbors can call the police and complain that the sound coming from the property is a nuisance. The police will arrive and tell the tenant that if the Police are forced to return to the residence after another noise complaint, the tenant will be arrested.

In order for a venue to have a certificate of occupancy, it must have most of those items listed above. That is proper regulation! Ironically, it’s the certificate of occupancy that can be taken away by the mayor if ONE person lights up ONE joint at any licensed venue in DC. The ban is absurd and impossible to enforce.

Please amend the social use ban and allow adults to responsibly consume cannabis together at venues that allow it!

Thank you for your time.


MAKE PHONE CALLS TODAY!

Here’s a sample phone call script:
Councilmember’s Staffer: Hello, Councilmember [ Insert Councilmember ]’s Office, how can I help you?
YOU: Hello, my name is [ Insert Your Name ], and I’m calling to request the Councilmember help amend B21-0550, the Marijuana Decriminalization Clarification Amendment Act of 2016. This legislation is far too broad and discriminates against adults who live in homes where cannabis use is not allowed. Please ensure this poorly worded legislation is amended before you vote on it. Thank you for your time.


Background on the Social Use Ban

Some people asked us what the ban is all about. They were like, “hey translate this to stoner speak so I can explain this to my friends.” Here’s our explanation:

The Decriminalization of Marijuana law that went into effect in July of 2014 (before we voted on i71) says:

Sec. 301. Consumption of marijuana in public space prohibited; impairment prohibited.

(a) Notwithstanding any other District law, it is unlawful for any person to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in or upon a public space, or in or upon any of the following places:

(1) A street, alley, park, sidewalk, or parking area;

(2) A vehicle in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area; or

   (3) Any place to which the public is invited.

This means as long as the public was not invited to the private event, cannabis was allowed to be used.  As in, a meeting of a private club (not a nightclub, but a private membership club) means that the public is not techinically invited unless they are a member of the club.  For example, if we were to make DCMJ a private membership club and we invited everyone on this list, as long as your name was on the membership list when reached the door, you could enter, and cannabis could be consumed legally at the club’s meeting.

However, the day after Ballot Initiative 71 became law the Mayor sent legislation to the DC Council that amends section (3) to “clarify” what places the public is invited. Below is the ban that was renewed yesterday:

Sec. 301. Consumption of marijuana in public space prohibited; impairment prohibited.

(a) Notwithstanding any other District law, it is unlawful for any person to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in or upon a public space, or in or upon any of the following places:

(1) A street, alley, park, sidewalk, or parking area;

(2) A vehicle in or upon any street, alley, park, or parking area; or

(3) Any place to which the public is invited. For the purposes of this subsection, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a private club, which includes any building, facility, or premises used or operated by an organization or association for a common avocational purpose, such as a fraternal, social, educational, or recreational purpose, is a place to which the public is invited; provided, that a private club does not include a private residence.

As you can see “claification” is a broad ban on all venues EXCEPT people’s homes.


We often get asked this question:

Q: Why can’t the DC Government just tax & regulate cannabis like Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington state?

A: Representative Andy Harris (R-Maryland) convinced enough members of the House of Representatives that the 2016 budget needs to have the following language:

(b) None of the funds contained in this Act may be used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative for recreational purposes.

This means the DC Council can’t pass any new laws that “reduce penalties” associated with marijuana.  They can, however, pass laws that clarify existing marijuana laws or increase pentalties, which is what they are doing now with the ban.  Until this section above is removed from the Congress’s budget for the District of Columbia, the DC Council has their hands tied on passing tax & regulate. As long as the House of Representatives remains controlled by the Republican Party, it is likely this travesty will continue.


News Roundup


Councilmember Grosso published a video on his vote:

Please Call & E-mail the Members of Committee on the Judiciary

UPDATED JANUARY 26, 2016

 

We need you to Call AND Email the members of the Committee on the Judiciary!

Before the entire DC Council can vote on B21-0107, it first must be voted out of the Committee on the Judiciary. This Committee vote is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 27. TIME IS RUNNING OUT!


Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) – (202)724-8028 – kmcduffie@dccouncil.us
Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) – (202)724-8058 – jevans@dccouncil.us
Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3) – (202)724-8062 – mcheh@dccouncil.us
Councilmember LaRuby May (Ward 8) – (202)724-8045 – lmay@dccouncil.us
Councilmember Anita Bonds (At-Large) – (202)724-8064 – abonds@dccouncil.us


MAKE PHONE CALLS TODAY!

Here’s a sample phone call script:
Councilmember’s Staffer: Hello, Councilmember [ Insert Councilmember ]’s Office, how can I help you?
YOU: Hello, my name is [ Insert Your Name ], and I’m calling to request the Councilmember to vote against B21-0107, the Marijuana Decriminalization Clarification Amendment Act of 2015. As a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, their vote against this poorly worded legislation is important to all cannabis users in Washington, DC. Thank you for your time.


SEND AN EMAIL TODAY!

Here’s a sample email:
SUBJECT: Do not markup B21-0107
BODY: Dear Councilmember [ Insert Councilmember ],

As a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, I am writing today to urge you to vote against B21-0107. This poorly-worded legislation is bad for the District of Columbia and does not deserve your committee vote. Adults in DC deserve the right to consume cannabis in private establishments.

Thank you for your time.
[ Your Name ]


Click here to download hearing on B21-0107. The portion of the hearing that deals with B21-0107 starts at 52 minutes and 21 seconds and the government witness, DCRA Director Melinda Bolling, starts at 2 hours and 48 minutes. If you don’t want to download the entire hearing on to your computer, you can stream it on-line by clicking here and then clicking on “video” on the line that says “Committee on Judiciary, Public Hearing, Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chairperson – 12/10/15.”


News Roundup

Let the Ban Expire!

Please sign up to testify. Your voice is needed to end this poorly thought ban!

Let the Ban Expire!

Even though Initiative 71 legalized cannabis, it cannot be consumed anywhere in DC other than in a private home. This is because, the week after Initiative 71 took effect, the DC Council passed emergency legislation (Act 21-149) that banned marijuana consumption at any bar, nightclub, bingo hall, or private venue in Washington, DC. Without any pressing reason, the Mayor and the DC Council severely restricted our rights as cannabis consuming adults.

Unfortunately, many people can’t use cannabis in their homes, because they live in federally-subsidized housing where they would risk eviction, their landlord won’t allow it, or they don’t want to smoke or vape around their children. Thus, they have nowhere to go except the street, where they risk being convicted of the crime of public consumption. If this law expires, as it is scheduled to do on January 15, people could consume cannabis in private venues and at private events. While DC residents might be tolerant of their neighbors smoking outdoors, the ban needs to go!

On Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 10:00 am in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), the Committee on the Judiciary will hold a public hearing on B21-0107, which would make this unnecessary and harmful law permanent.

We need YOU to come and raise your voice to let the DC Council know that you OPPOSE B21-0107, the “Marijuana Decriminalization Clarification Amendment Act of 2015

We believe that some members of the DC Council who supported the temporary law are prepared to change their vote and oppose this legislation, but they need to see that their constituents (YOU!) care about this issue. Your presence will make a huge difference!

Signing up to testify is easy. Just email Kate Mitchell, Judiciary Committee Director, at kmitchell@dccouncil.us, or call her at (202) 727-8275, and provide your name, phone number, title (if any), and the organization you work for (if you are speaking on the organization’s behalf). The deadline to sign up is 5:00pm on December 7, 2015.

If you plan to testify, please come to our “how-to” meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 7pm at 2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Please email RSVP@DCMJ.org so we know how many people to expect.