On Friday, April 5, 2014, the DC Board of Elections published their formulation of the short title, summary statement, and legislative text for Initiative No. 71, the “Legalization of Possession of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014.” Up next, the campaign will soon receive petitions that will need to be signed by nearly 25,000 registered DC voters in order to be on general election ballot on November 4.
Formulation of the short title, summary statement, and legislative text for Initiative No. 71, the “Legalization of Possession of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014.”
Welcome to DCMJ.org!
Got questions about the status of marijuana in Washington, DC? Here’s the latest:
- Possession of marijuana is NOT LEGAL in Washington, DC
- The decriminalization of marijuana possession legislation passed the DC City Council on March 4, 2014 but will not become law until it has been reviewed by Congress for 60 legislation days (we anticipate approval by late-July!)
- Medical marijuana IS LEGAL in Washington, DC but for only registered patients with approved medical conditions: AIDS/HIV, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis
The DC Cannabis Campaign’s Ballot Initiative will allow 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
- Does not allow anyone to sell marijuana (DC rules prevent us from putting this question in the ballot)
The DC Board of Elections will be giving the DC Cannabis Campaign the official signature gathering petitions on April 23 and the Campaign will need to collect more than 25,000 valid signatures by the first week of July in order to put the initiative on the ballot in November.
Interested in helping? Please volunteer with the DC Cannabis Campaign!
The DC Cannabis Campaign will be taking part in the Funk Parade on Saturday, May 3. We’re bringing our “Sinsemilla Soundsystem” to the parade and we’d like to include your favorite tracks on the playlist. Please take a moment and fill out the form below so we can include some of your favorite music!
Be sure to ‘Like’ the Funk Parade on Facebook to stay up to date on what will be one of best parades of 2014!
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
DC-MD-VA Cannabis Coalition to Host Inaugural Awards Event
“After Prohibition: Investigating What Comes Next for the Economy, Public Safety, and America’s Families”
WASHINGTON, DC – The newly formed DC-MD-VA Cannabis Coalition (DMVCC) will host an evening awards event Thursday, April 17, that brings together concerned citizens, policy reform advocates, and legislators to celebrate recent successes on cannabis reforms in the Mid-Atlantic region. The DMVCC will present “vanguard” awards recognizing the contributions of three individuals who have been instrumental in reforming marijuana laws locally. Among the award recipients is DC Councilmember Tommy Wells. Keynote speaker, author and journalist Doug Fine, will round out the evening with a rollicking and inspiring presentation culled from his years of investigative research into the policies, economics, and sustainability of cannabis and hemp.
WHO: Councilmember Tommy Wells, The DC Cannabis Campaign, Virginia NORML, and Maryland NORML
WHAT: DC-MD-VA Cannabis Coalition Inaugural Awards Event
WHEN: 7:30 pm, Thursday, April 17, 2014
WHERE: Busboys and Poets (5th and K), 1025 5th St. NW, Washington, DC
WHY: To change the DMV region’s outdated marijuana laws
“It takes a lot of courage to change marijuana laws in America, and we need to honor elected officials who have taken bold steps,” says Adam Eidinger, Chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign. “We will award DC Councilmember Tommy Wells for his work on ending marijuana arrests. His decriminalization law prevents thousands of District resident from needlessly being arrested for small amounts of marijuana.” Introduced in July 2013, the law was passed by the DC Council in early March and was transmitted to Congress in April. Wells’ decriminalization of marijuana legislation makes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a $25 fine instead of an arrest and has spurred the entire region to look at their marijuana laws.
About the keynote speaker: After 40 years and more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money, the end of cannabis prohibition is near. According to Gallup, 58 percent of Americans now favor marijuana legalization, and an increasing number of states are pressuring the federal government to follow their lead as America’s longest war winds down. Bestselling investigative journalist Doug Fine, author of Too High to Fail and Hemp Bound, will tell stories and present images from the front lines in North America, South America, and Europe.
About the DC Cannabis Campaign: Organized in 2013, the DC Cannabis Campaign is composed of residents who are working to change out-dated marijuana laws in the District of Columbia. The campaign submitted a ballot initiative in January to the DC Board of Elections and will soon be collecting signatures to place Initiative 71 on November’s general election ballot. The voter initiative will allow District residents to grow up to three mature plants in their homes and possess up to two ounces of marijuana without fear of arrest or fine.
Tickets to the awards event can be purchased here.
A big thank you to everyone who joined us last night to support the DC Cannabis Campaign!
The DC Cannabis Campaign will be organizing more fundraisers throughout 2014 to support the passage of the ballot initiative. Signup for the DC Cannabis Campaign’s email list on the right side of this page to stay informed about upcoming events.
— haywood turnipseed (@woodyseed) March 16, 2014
— haywood turnipseed (@woodyseed) March 16, 2014
Today we received word from the DC Board of Elections that our ballot initiative has been approved!
SO WHAT IS NEXT? According to Section 1002 of the DC Elections Laws, the Board of Elections now has up to 20 calendar days to create a summary of the initiative, a short title of the initiative, and amend the initiative to conform to any laws that were passed since we submitted the initiative back in January. Once completed, the Board of Elections has 5 more days to notify the DC Cannabis Campaign of any changes and then submit the finalized ballot initiative to the DC Register for publication. Finally, once published in the DC Register, the public has 10 days to challenge the summary, short title, or the legislative form of the ballot initiative. After the expiration of the challenge period, the Board of Elections will issue the DC Cannabis Campaign the nominating petitions, and we’ll have until July 7 to collect more than 25,000 valid signatures from DC voters.
We hope the Board of Elections will work quickly to finalize the ballot initiative so we can start collecting signatures as soon as possible!
Here’s the approval letter from the DC Board of Elections:
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
DC Cannabis Campaign Calls On Mayor Gray To Issue Moratorium On Marijuana Arrests
Congressional Review May Take Three Months and DC Residents Should Not Continue To Be Arrested
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the DC City Council passed the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014” (B20-0409). This historic legislation will reduce the criminal penalties associated with the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in the District of Columbia. Instead of facing arrest and potential jail time, citizens will have their marijuana and paraphernalia confiscated and will be issued a $25 ticket. Citizens caught smoking marijuana in public, possessing more than one ounce, or selling marijuana will still face criminal penalties and possible jail time.
After damning reports issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs showed that the District of Columbia leads America in the racial disparities for marijuana arrests, Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Marion Barry introduced “Simple Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana Decriminalization Act of 2013” on July 9, 2013. The legislation originally called for civil fines of $100 for possession and consumption of marijuana in public instead of arrest. At the first public hearing on October 23, 2013, witnesses suggested that the legislation be amended to reduce the civil fines to $25, similar to the current fine for the possession of an open container of alcohol in Washington, DC. At the second hearing on October 24, 2013, the Mayor’s office brought up their belief that the public consumption should remain illegal. To address these concerns, the legislation was further amended to keep the $100 fine for the public consumption of marijuana and make the fine $25 for the possession of marijuana. Lastly, in early February 2014, at the urging of Mayor Vincent Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier, the legislation was further amended by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to remove the $100 civil fine and keep criminal penalties in place for the public consumption of marijuana.
“While we support the dramatic reduction in penalties associated with marijuana possession, this legislation will still allow the police to continue to hassle and arrest District residents who choose to smoke marijuana,” says Adam Eidinger, Chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign, a political committee working on a District ballot imitative that will further reduce criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession and cultivation of marijuana. “We are organizing so voters have a say on whether marijuana should be fully legal this November.”
“Mayor Gray should issue a moratorium on arrests for the possession of marijuana while the legislation is under Congressional Review. How many more DC residents need to be arrested while we wait for Congress?” asks Eidinger. “This is a Home Rule issue now and the Mayor needs to side with the people.”
The DC Cannabis Campaign is currently waiting for the DC Board of Elections to approve the campaign’s ballot initiative language. Upon approval, the campaign will need to obtain more than 25,000 valid signatures from registered DC voters by July 7 in order to put the initiative on the general election ballot in November.
For more information about the DC Cannabis Campaign, visit www.DCMJ.org.
The District should set aside the warnings of its attorney general and let voters decide whether they want to legalize marijuana possession in the nation’s capital, advocates for the measure argued Tuesday before the D.C. Board of Elections.
The band of marijuana advocates is seeking to make the District one of the first East Coast cities to legalize marijuana possession. If it successfully gets the measure on the November ballot, legalization has a strong chance of being approved, according to a recent Washington Post poll, and it could hasten the arrival in Washington of a debate that has simmered mostly in Western states.
SOURCE: Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
The DC Cannabis Campaign Prepares to Fight for Ballot Access
Attorney General’s Analysis Won’t Hold Up in Court
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 25, 2014, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) will hold an administrative hearing on whether the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative is fit to go before voters this November. Last week, DC Attorney General Irv Nathan released his analysis of the proposed ballot initiative and stated that his office was against the proposed legislation because he claims it violates federal law concerning the District’s ability to enforce federal housing laws. While the Attorney General’s opinion is not legally binding, if the DCBOEE sides with him, the DC Cannabis Campaign is prepared to take the DCBOEE to court to ensure voters have the opportunity to decide on this important matter November 4.
“The Attorney General’s legal analysis is just one legal theory designed to silence the will of the voters by attempting to throw out our ballot initiative,” says Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign.
“Under the proposed initiative, the District would be free to use the lease required by federal law and evict tenants who violate the terms of the lease, as well as regulate conduct made lawful by the initiative on property that it owns,” wrote attorney Joseph Sandler. “For that reason, there is absolutely no conflict between federal law and the proposed initiative.”
If the DCBOEE sides with the DC Cannabis Campaign and allows the ballot initiative to go forward, the DCBOEE will issue petitions for registered DC voters to sign. The Campaign will need to collect valid signatures from five percent of registered voters in DC, which amounts to nearly 24,000 valid signatures. In order to for the initiative to be put on the November general election ballot, the Campaign must submit the signatures by July 7.
“If the Board of Elections delays the initiative language approval, we’ll be forced to have a special election, which will cost the DC government nearly $1 million,” says Eidinger. “We’d much rather save the DC government the expense by allowing voters to decide the marijuana question during the general election.”
The DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative will permit District residents 21 and older to cultivate marijuana in their homes and allow residents to keep the marijuana grown at home for their personal use. The initiative does not permit the consumption of marijuana in public nor does it allow District residents to sell the marijuana they’ve grown. Furthermore, the initiative does not create a “Tax & Regulate” system similar to the successful ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington. The District’s Home Rule Charter does not allow District residents to create any taxing authority through the ballot box, but it does allow District residents to expand freedoms.
“Poll after poll has shown DC residents support legal marijuana. The DCBOEE should empower citizens to vote on this important issue,” concludes Eidinger.
Full text of the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative can be viewed at www.DCMJ.org/ballot-initiative/.
The DC Cannabis Campaign is pleased to announce our upcoming comedy fundraiser taking place on March 15, 2014. Long-time cannabis activist Elizabeth Croydon has assembled an amazing cast of comedians that will surely make you #DCMJLOL.