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
We look forward to working with the Task Force!
NBC Washington: DC Lawmakers Open Door to Pot Smoking in Private Clubs
- Washington Post: D.C. Council to study whether to license private pot clubs, passes crime bill
- Washington City Paper: D.C. Council Tables Permanent Cannabis Club Ban, Approves Task Force to Study Them
- DCist: No Permanent Ban Yet: D.C. Council Creates Task Force To Study Pot Clubs
- Washington Times: D.C. Council rethinks ban on private marijuana-smoking clubs
- Washington Business Journal: D.C. Council to create task force to study issue of marijuana clubs
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
— Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) – (202)724-8058 – email@example.com
— Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3) – (202)724-8062 – firstname.lastname@example.org
— Councilmember LaRuby May (Ward 8) – (202)724-8045 – email@example.com
— Councilmember Anita Bonds (At-Large) – (202)724-8064 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
- WAMU – Marijuana Advocates Push Back Against D.C. Effort to Ban Pot Use In Bars & Clubs
- Washington Post – Private clubs for smoking pot? Keep the law vague, activists say
- WTOP – D.C. Council considers letting ban expire on marijuana use in private businesses
- NBC Washington – Advocates Want Marijuana Use Expanded to Private Clubs in D.C.
- Washington City Paper – At Legal-Weed Hearing, Advocates Threaten Ballot Initiatives Against Council
- Daily Caller – DC Pot Activist Threatens Council With Term Limits If Marijuana Regulations Pass
Today Mayor Bowser, Chief Lanier, DC Attorney General Racine, DC Councilmembers, and Congresswoman Norton hosted a press conference to defend Ballot Initiative 71 from congressional interference. Ballot Initiative 71 is set to become law tonight at 12:01AM, Thursday, February 26, 2015.
“Activists in Washington, D.C., plan to submit an initiative by week’s end that would put marijuana legalization on the ballot in the nation’s capital in November — making the city one of a handful of jurisdictions poised to ask voters to consider the issue this year.
The proposal that is expected to be submitted to the D.C. Board of Elections would allow residents to legally grow up to six marijuana plants per household and possess and transfer up to an ounce of the drug without penalty.
Submission of the ballot language is just the beginning of an arduous process that will require supporters, who have formed a campaign committee and recruited volunteers, to collect thousands of signatures and persuade voters to approve the measure.”
SOURCE: Andrea Noble, Washington Times
Over 40 witnesses testified and more than 100 District residents attended the historic marijuana decriminalization hearings this week. Below are some of the news articles & videos that were generated:
SOURCE: CNN Situation Room
SOURCE: DC FOX 5
- NBC 4 – D.C. Marijuana Laws Likely to Change
- NBC 4 – D.C. Council Could Send Marijuana Decriminalization Bill to Mayor in January
- WJLA – D.C. Council considers decriminalizing marijuana
- WASHINGTON POST – D.C. poised for a giant leap toward legalizing small amounts of marijuana
- WASHINGTON POST – Marijuana Likely to be Decriminalized
- WASHINGTON CITY PAPER – A Frenemy With Weed
- WASHINGTON CITY PAPER – Gray Wants Changes to Marijuana Bill
- WASHINGTON CITY PAPER – What Legalized Weed Could Look Like in D.C.
- THE HOYA – Decriminalization on Council Agenda
- WASHINGTONIAN – Mayor Gray Backs Marijuana Decriminalization, With Some Tweaks
- WASHINGTON TIMES – D.C. mayor, AG support bill decriminalizing marijuana
- WAMU – D.C. Council Holds First Of Two Hearings On Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
- WAMU – Gray Backs Bill Decriminalizing Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana
- WTOP – DC Council could decriminalize pot in January
- THINKPROGRESS – D.C. On The Verge Of Decriminalizing Marijuana
- ROLL CALL – If D.C. Decriminalizes Marijuana, Will Congress’ Reaction Be a Buzz Kill?
This legislative summary was written by Grant Smith, Policy Manager, Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance:
On July 10, 2013, Councilmember Tommy Wells (D- Ward 6) introduced the “Simple Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana Decriminalization Act of 2013” (Bill Number 20-409). This bill was co- introduced or co-sponsored by nine out of thirteen Councilmembers. The legislation would reform D.C. law to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less or paraphernalia intended to use or possess marijuana weighing one ounce or less. This legislative summary outlines how the legislation as it was introduced would reform D.C.’s marijuana law.
After holding public hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety scheduled for October 23, 2013 and October 24, 2013, the Committee would next conduct a markup of the legislation and vote on whether to send the bill to the Committee of the Whole comprised of all thirteen Councilmembers for further consideration.
This legislation consists of eight sections that make a number of revisions to D.C. laws. The first section contains the title of the bill.
- Under this legislation, any person in the District of Columbia found in possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would no longer be subjected to arrest or charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense under D.C. law and would no longer be subject to up to 180 days in prison or up to a $1,000 fine.
- Possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would become a civil offense punishable by a $100 civil fine and forfeiture of the marijuana that triggered the fine. The fine would likely be issued in a manner similar to how a traffic citation for a civil infraction is issued by the Metropolitan Police Department. A police officer would seize any marijuana and issue the citation.
- A person under the age of 18 in possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would be subject to a $100 civil fine and forfeiture of the marijuana that triggered the fine but would also be required to attend a drug awareness program within one year of notice to the person under 18 and their parent or legal guardian of its availability.
- The parents or legal guardian of the person under the age of 18 would be notified of the issuance of the marijuana citation and the availability of a drug awareness program.
- A qualified drug awareness program would be made available to a person under the age of 18 without cost and a qualified program would be required to provide at least four hours of group discussion or instruction based on science and evidence-based principles and practices specific to the use and misuse of marijuana, alcohol and other drugs.
- A person under the age of 18 who fails to complete the four hours of a drug awareness program within one year of its availability would be subject to eight hours of court-ordered community service and an additional $200 fine.
- Any person in the District of Columbia found in possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would not be subject to any additional penalty, sanction or disqualification for engaging in such conduct other than the penalties described above.
- Under this legislation, the possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would not warrant or authorize the seizure of a person’s property under D.C. civil asset forfeiture laws. A person whose only conduct was possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would not face civil asset forfeiture of property such as vehicles, real estate or other property for that conduct but would still face seizure of any marijuana.
- D.C. laws are revised to specify that transfering (or “sharing”) marijuana weighing one ounce or less without renumeration (expectation or receipt of money, services, favors or other forms of tangible or intangible compensation) would no longer be treated as marijuana distribution or manufacturing. Presently, the act of sharing marijuana under D.C. law is treated the same as distributing or selling marijuana.
- Under this legislation, any person found in the District of Columbia possessing paraphernalia for the purpose of consuming or storing marijuana weighing one ounce or less would no longer be subjected to arrest or charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense under D.C. law punishable by up to 30 days in prison and a fine.
- Possession of paraphernalia for the purpose of consuming, carrying or storing marijuana weighing one ounce or less would no longer be a criminal or civil offense and would become lawful conduct under D.C. law.
- Transferring (or “sharing”) paraphernalia intended to be used to consume, carry or store marijuana weighing less than one ounce without renumeration (expectation or receipt of money, services, favors or other forms of tangible or intangible compensation) would no longer be a criminal or civil offense and would become lawful conduct under D.C. law.
- Under this legislation, a person whose only unlawful conduct was possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would not furnish cause or authorize a judge to issue a search warrant and subsequent seizure of any property other than seizure of any amount of marijuana.
- This legislation amends D.C. Code pertaining to public assistance to clarify that a person who commits the civil violation of possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would generally not be rendered ineligible for public assistance.
- This legislation amends D.C. Code to clarify that a person who commits the civil violation of possession of marijuana weighing one ounce or less would not have their D.C. issued drivers’ license suspended or revoked.
- This section pertains to the projected cost of implementing this legislation.
- This legislation would take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of a veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto) and a 60 day period of review by the United States Congress.
For additional information, please contact Grant Smith, Policy Manager, Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance email@example.com or 202-683-2984
The undersigned organizations call upon you to co-sponsor and prioritize passage of legislation that would eliminate all penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana under District of Columbia law. Residents of the District of Columbia are arrested for marijuana possession at greater rates than residents of any U.S. state and almost any U.S. city, and the District spends more per capita on marijuana arrests than any other state in the country.
We are appalled by the waste of taxpayer dollars, law enforcement resources and time expended on marijuana possession arrests in D.C., the onerous collateral consequences that follow an arrest, as well as the stark and unacceptable racial disparities in local marijuana law enforcement. We join many of our fellow D.C. residents in support of legal possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in the District of Columbia.
African Americans comprise just over half the D.C. population, but accounted for more than nine out of every ten marijuana possession arrests in 2010, according to MPD data recently analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The overall marijuana arrest rate in D.C. has grown by more than 60 percent since 2001 and — even more disturbing — the racial disparity in D.C. marijuana arrests has widened by more than 75 percent during that period, from 4.1 to 1 in 2001 to 8.0 to 1 in 2010. Literally tens of thousands of D.C. residents – most of whom are African American or Latino – have been arrested for marijuana possession in the past decade.
The consequences of drug arrests and convictions are severe. In the months and years following a marijuana arrest, individuals with criminal records are denied jobs, rental housing, accreditations, loans and other means to achieve economic self-sufficiency and contribute to the tax base. Unable to pursue many occupational, educational and financial opportunities, people with criminal records are marginalized and left vulnerable to homelessness, untreated physical and mental illnesses, substance dependence, and exposure to HIV and other blood-borne infections. People, including young people, who use marijuana should no longer be criminalized or otherwise be penalized. Where legislation seeks to mandate education for young people about drug use, that information should be based on legitimate scientific and medical evidence.
An April 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that nearly two-thirds of D.C. voters would support a ballot measure that legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana like alcohol. Nearly two- thirds would support a ballot measure that made possession up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use legal for adults 21 or older. 75 percent of D.C. voters expressed support for removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession. 54 percent expressed support for removing criminal penalties for possession of any drug.
California, Connecticut, Nebraska, Colorado and five other states have repealed criminal penalties for marijuana possession while two states are moving forward with taxation and regulation of marijuana like alcohol. Marijuana policy reform legislation is also pending in Congress and in many states at a time when national polling shows a solid majority of Americans support ending marijuana prohibition. We urge and respectfully request that you prioritize repeal
of all criminal and civil penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia.
American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital
Bread for the City
Drug Policy Alliance
NAACP Washington, DC Branch
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
START at Westminster