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:

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