CONTACT: ZACK PESAVENTO
DC Cannabis Campaign Dismisses
Obstruction Rumors on Initiative 71
Joint Public Hearing on October 30 to
Consider Complementary ‘Tax and Regulate’ Bill
WASHINGTON, DC — Supporters of Ballot Initiative 71 will speak at a Joint Public Hearing at the John A. Wilson Building on October 30 that is set to discuss a separate legislative proposal known as the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2014”. Although Ballot Initiative 71 would legalize the cultivation and possession of limited amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia, it does not address the sale of marijuana due to existing restrictions on ballot measures. Advocates for the “Yes on 71” campaign will push back against reports that the DC Council might supplant the ballot initiative with its own legislation.
“There’s a natural complementarity to the two measures,” said Adam Eidinger, the chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign. “The ballot initiative will provide relief for private residents who continue to face fines and arrests under the current decriminalization regime, while the District Council’s legislation pursues the more complex task of taxing and regulating private businesses.”
A survey of likely voters in September showed 65% support for Ballot Initiative 71. The ballot initiative is subject to a 60-day congressional review period because it amends criminal law. The review period will need to begin once the 114th Congress is in session because the 113th Congress will not have enough time to satisfy the 60-day requirement following the November 4 election. If Congress does nothing, Ballot Initiative 71’s provisions will go into effect once the 60-day review period expires some time in the spring.
DC Cannabis Campaign officials are optimistic about the future of Ballot Initiative 71 following recent meetings with DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
“We expect the District Council to respect the will of the voters who want real marijuana reform,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, the vice chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign and D.C. Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. ”We feel confident that Ballot Initiative 71 will get a fair shot to pass unimpeded through Congress just like any other bill. Without interference, we could really see a sensible legalization policy go into effect this spring.”
The DC Cannabis Campaign is concerned that people of color continue to face disparities in the enforcement of penalties under the decriminalization law that went into effect on July 17. A Drug Policy Alliance review of records from the Metropolitan Police Department found that 77% of marijuana-related tickets have been issued in neighborhoods that are predominately home to people of color. White marijuana dealers were also found to be 20 times less likely to be arrested than black dealers in 2011 — the highest racial disparity of its kind in the nation.
Ballot Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, give (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults, and cultivate up to three mature marijuana plants at home.
The “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2014” would establish a regulatory structure that permits private businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana and marijuana-based products to adults in the District of Columbia. The legislation, which was introduced by Councilmember David Grosso, also creates a special fund to collect marijuana-related revenues for dedicated expenditures.
The District of Columbia’s Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Finance and Revenue will hold a Joint Public Hearing at 11:00am EST on October 30 in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
The DC Cannabis Campaign is the official campaign committee for Ballot Initiative 71. The campaign is a project of residents from across the District of Columbia, Drug Policy Action, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.
Want to help get the word out about Ballot Initiative 71? You can help the campaign by putting up signs around your neighborhood. From lampposts to your window, we want as many people as possible to vote FOR the initiative on November 4 and the best way to do this is putting up the signs in high-traffic areas.
To pick up campaign signs, first call 202-733-4640 and schedule a convenient time to pick them up at the campaign headquarters at 2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW. We ask that you call first so we can make sure your signs are ready before you arrive.
On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the NBC4 / Washington Post / Marist Poll, which asked over 1200 voters their opinion on Ballot Initiative 71, was released to the public. As you can see above, the poll shows that 65% of respondents support Ballot Initiative 71. This is the highest support ever polled for marijuana legalization ballot initiative! Click here to read the poll.
Watch the NBC Washington news segment on the new poll:
Source: NBC Washington
- Washington Post – Poll: D.C. voters poised to legalize pot, elevating national debate over marijuana
- NBC Washington – Nearly Two-Thirds of D.C. Likely Voters Support Legalization of Marijuana: Poll
- Reuters – Washington D.C. voters back legal pot by 2-1 margin: poll
- Associated Press – D.C. voters strongly favor pot legalization, poll finds
- Huffington Post – Washington, D.C., Voters Strongly Support Marijuana Legalization
- DCist – Poll: Majority Of D.C. Voters Want Legalized Pot, Are Undecided About Attorney General
- Just Say Now – Poll: 65% Plan to Vote for D.C. Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Don’t forget to vote YES on Initiative 71 this November 4!
- Washington Post – Campaign to legalize marijuana in D.C. selects new slogans for November vote
- DCist – D.C.’s Marijuana Legalization Effort Gets New Slogans
The new signs will be ready by the end of the month. If you would like one, please send an email to Info@DCMJ.org.
Thank you to all the volunteers, petition circulators, and supporters!
Ballot Initiative 71 Qualifies for November General Election Ballot
LEGALIZATION ENDS DISCRIMINATION: YES On 71
First Jurisdiction to Legalize Marijuana in a Racial Justice context
WASHINGTON, DC — Today the D.C. Board of Elections ruled that Ballot Initiative 71 has enough valid signatures to qualify for November’s general election ballot. One month ago, the DC Cannabis Campaign submitted over 57,000 signatures from registered voters and needed 23,780 signatures to qualify.
The citizens of the District of Columbia hope to follow in the steps of Colorado and Washington by legalizing marijuana and polls show the issue is popular among District residents, with support above 60 percent. DC currently has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S. In 2010 black people in the District accounted for 91 percent of all marijuana arrests – even though black and white people use marijuana at roughly similar rates.
Ballot Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, allows adults to give (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults, and allows for the cultivation of up to three mature marijuana plants at home. District law prevents ballot initiatives from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the DC Council is currently considering a bill that will tax and regulate marijuana within the District.
The ballot initiative builds on the work of the DC Council, which decriminalized marijuana this past spring. However, as data from numerous jurisdictions around the country indicate, decriminalization alone is not enough to change police practices. Colorado and Washington have seen precipitous declines in marijuana arrests since enacting legalization initiatives in 2012, saving these states millions in tax dollars, and, more importantly, eliminating the collateral consequences associated with arrests for marijuana possession.
“It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that the citizens of the district would like to have a say in reforming the marijuana laws of the District,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, Vice-Chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign and the DC Policy Manager for Drug Policy Action. “The policies of prohibition in the District have been borne on the backs of black and brown men for decades, by voting YES on 71, District residents can put an end to this failed policy.”
The announcement of legalization efforts come just two weeks after the implementation of DC’s decriminalization law, where preliminary data show that 77% of all tickets have been issued in communities of color. “It is great that we have decriminalized marijuana in the District of Columbia,” said Adam Eidinger, Chair of DC Cannabis Campaign, “Unfortunately, if we are going replace arrests with tickets, discrimination will continue, but voting YES on 71 eliminates the tickets and brings discrimination to an end.”
On July 7, 2014, the DC Cannabis Campaign delivered over 57,000 signatures from DC voters to the DC Board of Elections in order put Initiative 71 on the Nov. 4 ballot.
On July 1, 2014, the DC Cannabis Campaign hosted a “Signature Gatherer Recognition Night” at Patty Boom Boom. Listen to the people who collected over 57,000 signatures talk about the importance of passing Ballot Initiative #71.
Welcome to DCMJ.org, the digital home of the DC Cannabis Campaign!
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 became effective on July 17
- The decriminalization of marijuana possession DOES NOT allow public consumption of marijuana. You can still get arrested!
- 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)
Interested in helping? Please volunteer with the DC Cannabis Campaign!
Join us for Monday night’s Community Conversation on DC Marijuana Laws and Ballot Initiative 71, which will be taking place from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Shiloh Baptist Church (at the corner of 9th & P St. NW, near the Shaw/Howard Metro Station).
The conversation will be moderated by acclaimed author and economist, Dr. Julianne Malveaux and feature a panel of experts on marijuana laws. This will be one of last large events concerning Ballot Initiative 71 before election day and your attendance is encouraged.
WHO: Local and National leaders, Community Advocates, Clergy, DC residents, and staff from the DC Cannabis Campaign
WHAT: A Community Conversation on DC Marijuana Laws and Ballot Initiative 71
WHERE: Shiloh Baptist Church, 9th & P Street, NW. Blocks from the Shaw/Howard Metro Station (Green & Yellow Lines)
WHEN: 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Monday, October 27, 2014
WHY: To have a conversation about DC marijuana laws and Ballot Initiative 71
Are you on Twitter? Join us at 9pm EST, Tuesday, October 7 for our #YESon71 Twitter Rally! Campaign staff will be on Twitter to answer questions and help get the word out about voting Yes on 71 this November 4.
How to participate? Simply send tweets and include the hashtag #YesOn71!
If you haven’t yet, follow @DCMJ2014 on Twitter!