🚨 URGENT: Contact the DC Council ASAP! #StopTheBan🚨


Unfortunately, on Tuesday, April 19, the DC Council voted to permanently ban cannabis use at all private venues that are not residences by a vote of 7 for and 6 against. The Councilmembers voting for the ban were: Mendelson, McDuffie, Alexander, Cheh, Bonds, Todd, and May.

We have received word that DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the biggest prohibitionist in the DC government, has scheduled the FINAL vote on the communal cannabis use ban at the Legislation Meeting taking place next Tuesday monring.  Mendelson is being so sneaky about this Legislative Meeting that you can’t even find it on the DC Council’s website. Why? He doesn’t want the public to know or care about his malicious plans to keep arresting cannabis users.

What is incredibly insulting about this vote is that it is scheduled to take place hours BEFORE the Task Force’s first Town Hall Meeting on communal use. Instead of waiting to hear the public’s input, Phil Mendelson is essentially saying “TO HELL WITH WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS, THE DC COUNCIL KNOWS WHAT IS BEST!”

His paternalistic attitude is also making the DC Council, as a legislative body, look incredibly stupid. First they voted to create a Task Force to make recommendations on communal use, then before the Task Force even meets, Mendelson schedules a vote to make the Task Force’s recommendations irrelevant because once the permanent ban is approved,  thanks to the Harris Amendment, the DC Council cannot vote repeal it!

We’ve heard grumblings from a couple cannabis activists that they’ll have a smoke-in right in the DC Council chambers if they pass the permanent ban on Tuesday. Since they have no legal place to consume cannabis, they said they might as well light up in the Council chambers to make the point that adults deserve places to consume cannabis away from children or outside on the sidewalk, where they’d risk arrest.

We’ve also heard discussions about launching a referendum campaign that would overturn this legislation.  Lawyers reading this, here’s the draft referendum language for your review.

But none of this matters if Tuesday’s vote is either postponed or the majority of the DC Councilmembers vote NO on the permanent ban.

We need you to send e-mails and make phone calls TODAY, MONDAY, and TUESDAY morning! Below are all the council members e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and links to their DC Council webpages.

We suggest calling Mendelson & McDuffie LAST. They are hellbent on passing the ban, so it might be a waste of your time to believe your calls & emails will make a difference to these prohibitionists.  Instead we suggest contacting Councilmembers Cheh, May, and Bonds.
Please contact the DC Councilmembers NOW!

COUNCILMEMBER WARD or At-Large E-Mail Address Phone Number
Phil Mendelson is against cannabis reform
Phil Mendelson
Chairman of the Council pmendelson@dccouncil.us
Vincent Orange is for cannabis reform
Vincent Orange
At-Large Councilmember vorange@dccouncil.us (202)724-8174
Anita Bonds is sometimes for cannabis reform
Anita Bonds
At-Large Councilmember abonds@dccouncil.us
David Grosso supports cannabis reform
David Grosso
At-Large Councilmember dgrosso@dccouncil.us (202)724-8105
Elissa Silverman sometimes supports cannabis reform
Elissa Silverman
At-Large Councilmember esilverman@dccouncil.us
Brianne Nadeau supports cannabis reform
Brianne Nadeau
Ward 1 Councilmember bnadeau@dccouncil.us (202)724-8181
Jack Evans supports cannabis reform
Jack Evans
Ward 2 Councilmember jevans@dccouncil.us (202)724-8058
Mary Cheh is against cannabis reform
Mary Cheh
Ward 3 Councilmember mcheh@dccouncil.us
Brandon Todd is against cannabis reform
Brandon Todd
Ward 4 Councilmember btodd@dccouncil.us
Kenyan McDuffie is against cannabis reform
Kenyan McDuffie
Ward 5 Councilmember kmcduffie@dccouncil.us
Charles Allen sometimes supports cannabis reform
Charles Allen
Ward 6 Councilmember callen@dccouncil.us
Yvette Alexander is against cannabis reform
Yvette Alexander
Ward 7 Councilmember yalexander@dccouncil.us
LaRuby May is sometimes against cannabis reform
LaRuby May
Ward 8 Councilmember lmay@dccouncil.us

SUBJECT: Stop the Communal Cannabis Ban!
BODY: Councilmember [ Insert Councilmember ],

At the upcoming Legislative Meeting on Tuesday, April 19, please vote against B21-107, the permanent ban on communal cannabis use, and let the Task Force do it’s job and make recommendations. By voting for the permanent ban, you are rendering the Task Force that you voted to create earlier this year completely useless! The Councilmembers on the Task Force are holding a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday evening after the vote to solicit feedback from the community and you are invited to hear why citizens believe the permanent ban is a bad idea. But if you vote for the permanent ban Tuesday morning, you are doing a huge disservice to the residents of the District of Columbia, and essentially saying, “we don’t care what you think!”

I believe adults in DC should have the right to use cannabis away from their children and off the sidewalks and streets. Many adults cannot use cannabis in their homes and the responsible thing to do as a legislator is to not force adults to be evicted or risk arrest, but provide alternative solutions. A permanent ban is not a solution. It’s misguided and wrong to make cannabis users second-class citizens in the District of Columbia. Please let the Task Force do it’s job and vote NO on B21-107!

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 vote against B21-107, 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. This ban will increase the number of arrests in DC because it forces adults into the streets and sidewalks to consume cannabis when they have no other legal place to go. Worse, the Council voted to create a Task Force to make recommendations and by voting for the permanent ban, the Councilmember looks dumb for even creating the Task Force in the first place. Once the ban becomes permanent, the DC Council cannot repeal it because the Harris amendment in Congress. Please tell the Councilmember to let the Task Force do t’s job and vote NO on B21-107. Thank you for your time.

Need more talking points?
Kate Bell from MPP has a great one-pager that will help:


Legal Background on the Communal Use Ban
Some people asked us what the permanent ban is all about. 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 to our annual meeting at the roof deck of Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan, as long as your name was on the membership list when you reached the door, you could enter, and cannabis could be consumed legally at the club’s meeting.  Paying for membership to join a private club in order to receive “free cannabis” or “a gift of cannabis” is, and always has been, illegal because the payment is a form of remuneration.

The day after Ballot Initiative 71 became law the Mayor sent legislation (B21-107) to the DC Council that amends section (3) to “clarify” what places the public is invited. Below is the text of the permanent ban:

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.  Why should cannabis users be treated as second class citizens?