D.C.’s Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Act takes effect


July 21, 2014
Zaina Kahuk
News Writer

The District of Colombia’s Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Act took effect on Thursday. The new law will make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana only a civil violation; only a $25 fee. Under the previous law, the same offense would be charged with a criminal misdemeanor punishable by six-months in jail and a $1,000 fine. D.C. police are no longer allowed to take action if they simply smell marijuana and they can they make a person caught with less than an ounce to show their ID. Many officers are confused about how to still enforce the laws while following the new ones. To make matters even more confusing, D.C.’s new law is very different from the federal marijuana laws. If your caught carrying marijuana near on a street near Capitol Hill, you are in the clear, but if you step on the sidewalk and onto federal territory patrolled by U.S. Capitol Police, you could still be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. “We understand changes in the law can be confusing,” says Gwendolyn Crump, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department. “That is why we have online training that includes potential scenarios and examples for members. It is an ongoing process, and we will continue to put forward additional training and scenarios as new questions arise.”


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