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.


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.


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:

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, 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 so we know how many people to expect.

Join Us For A Community Conversation on DC Marijuana Laws and Ballot Initiative 71

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

Please help us spread the word by inviting your friends and sharing the flyer above on Facebook and Twitter!

PRESS RELEASE: DC Cannabis Campaign Dismisses Obstruction Rumors on Initiative 71

October 20, 2014

(202) 420-1065

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.


Poll Shows 65% Support Ballot Initiative 71

Source: Washington Post

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

Also Read:

Don’t forget to vote YES on Initiative 71 this November 4!

You Have 1 Week Left To Sign Our Petition!

The DC Cannabis Campaign has entered the home stretch in our circulating petition effort. So far we’ve collected over 45,000 signatures from DC voters, but we still haven’t reached our goal of 70,000 signatures. We hope you will help us reach that goal in the next week. So if you see a petition circulator in your neighborhood, please sign their petition!

Here are some answers to common questions people have asked the campaign’s petition circulators:

Q: I work for the government, can I sign the petition?
A: YES! Since the ballot initiative is non-partisan, you will not violate the Hatch Act as long as you sign when you are not working. This means if you see a petition circulator this evening while you are walking home after work, it’s your constitutional right to sign the petition. The campaign’s collected signatures from off-duty police officers, federal government employees with top secret security clearances, members of the military, congressional staffers, and even DC Councilmembers. As long as you are not “on the clock,” you should feel comfortable signing our circulating petition.

Q: If I sign this, am I going to be put on some government list?
A: NO! Your signature, address, printed name, date, and the ward you live in are not transcribed by any government agency. This personal information is required for the DC Board of Elections to verify that you are a qualified registered voter in the District of Columbia.

Q: Isn’t marijuana already legal?
A: NO! Unless you are one of the few DC medical marijuana patients, marijuana is still illegal to possess, consume, and cultivate in the District of Columbia. The DC marijuana decriminalization law does not take effect until mid-July and when it does, marijuana will still be illegal. Decriminalization simply removes the criminal penalties for marijuana, but if you are caught with marijuana the police will still take it from you, but instead of going to jail, you’ll get a $25 fine. Under Initiative 71, there will be no fine for possessing up to 2 ounces and you’ll be allowed grow a few plants at home.

Q: After marijuana is legalized, will I be able to walk down the street and smoke a joint?
A: NO! Although beer is legal, can you walk down the street drinking a beer? Nope. Our goal was to treat marijuana like alcohol, so with that treatment comes similar rules. You will be able to consume marijuana at home or at establishments that allow it- just like beer.

Q: I already signed the petition, can I sign it again?
A: NO! You only need to sign the petition once. If you really care about signing it again & again, maybe you should consider volunteering with the campaign so that you can get your friends and neighbors to sign.

Q: Now that I signed, what’s next?
A: The campaign will be turning in all the circulating petitions on Monday, July 7. The DC Board of Elections will review the circulating petitions to ensure that the campaign reached the signature threshold. Once the petitions are verified, ballot initiative #71 will be placed on the November 4 general election ballot and you will be given the option of voting YES or NO. We hope you vote YES!

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.”

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.

You can download the official ballot initiative text here, here, or read it online here.

Please volunteer & donate to the campaign!

Press Release: DC Cannabis Campaign Calls On Mayor Gray To Issue Moratorium On Marijuana Arrests

March 4, 2014

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


Press Release: DC Residents Submit Marijuana Voter Initiative For General Election

January 15, 2014

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

DC Residents Submit Marijuana Voter Initiative For General Election

Passage Would Allow Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC – After soliciting comments from the public since October 2013 and working within the District of Columbia’s limited powers afforded to voter initiatives, the DC Cannabis Campaign submitted ballot initiative language on Friday, January 10, 2013. The campaign’s ballot initiative can be viewed at

The proposed initiative is currently being reviewed by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics for legal completeness. The campaign anticipates a public hearing next month. Once approved, the campaign will need to gather over 23,000 signatures from registered voters of the District of Columbia by this summer in order to make it on to the general election ballot in November.

“We’ve listened to the public for three months and worked with stakeholders to submit the most workable language that enshrines marijuana consumer rights, including limited home cultivation,” says Adam Eidinger who submitted the initiative. “Our initiative will restore dignity to a whole group of people living in the shadows, who’ve had opportunities denied for simply using marijuana versus other legal even more dangerous substances.”

The Home Rule Act of the District of Columbia prohibits ballot initiatives from creating taxing authority, like those passed in Colorado and Washington, but the campaign believes that residents should not have to fear government repression for growing, consuming, and possessing marijuana in the privacy of their homes.

“Back in 1998, over 69% of District residents approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative that allowed the home cultivation of cannabis, but in 2010 the Council removed this right,” says Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We want to return this right back to the people.”

“Mayoral candidate and current Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells decriminalization of marijuana legislation is a good start for fixing DC’s unjust marijuana laws, “ says Piper. “The next step is allowing DC residents to grow their own supply of marijuana so they are not reliant on the illicit market. Ultimately, the city should tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

When marijuana possession in DC is decriminalized this Spring, home cultivation will not be permitted and will remain a criminal offense. The campaign’s ballot initiative seeks to change this and allow individuals to grow up to six plants inside their homes and a maximum of 12 plants in a residence.

“We allow people to brew beer at home, so why shouldn’t we allow District residents the freedom to grow a few marijuana plants?” asks Eidinger.
For more information visit


Washington Times: D.C. proposal would allow ounce of weed, 6 plants per household

“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.”

Continue Reading…

SOURCE: Andrea Noble, Washington Times

Also see DCist: Marijuana Activists Will Submit Final Legalization Ballot Initiative This Week