D.C. decriminalizes marijuana possession - $25 fine for up to 1 ounce

"Moments ago, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana possession! The bill, which goes into effect this summer, replaces criminal penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine with a civil penalty (similar to a parking ticket) of $25 for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. It also decriminalizes marijuana paraphernalia. This means that, outside of Washington and Colorado, marijuana penalties are now less punitive in our nation’s capital than anywhere else in the country!" - Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project

Notable Replies

  1. While this will certainly change the way Metro police in DC handle marijuana possession (now you'll get a beating and a ticket, instead of a beating and thrown in jail), it's worth noting that DC is covered with Federal property that is under the jurisdiction of Federal law enforcement including the FBI, Secret Service, US Marshals, Smithsonian Police, US Park Police and Capitol Hill Police (to name just a few that come to mind). If residents of the District are busted by any of them on Federal property, it's a felony just like it's always been.

    EDIT: sorry - it's not just on Federal property, it's by a Federal agent. I guess there's a question about jurisdiction for some of the above agencies, but not all.

  2. If they take baby steps like this toward legalization, it won't look like they were actually wrong to make it illegal in the first place.

  3. Double jump, if they are playing budgetary checkers. Reduced jail/court/enforcement costs, the big $, plus a tiny revenue stream via the tiny fine that is routed through an existing system.

    Feds need to get on board, that's 2 states & a district. Who is next? Whaddup NYC, thought you thought you were cool?

  4. The penalty for crack is still serving as mayor, though.

  5. This is great and all, but its still a big sick bird on the federal level. What that means is, if you get a "ticket" in DC, the feds can still charge you and send you to jail. I know this because I once got a $50 ticket in Denver for just such an occasion. The next time I had a "run in" with the feds (crossing the border) they were using the threat of charging me under federal law for getting that ticket almost 15 years ago.

    These are all small gains. Until its decriminalized on the federal level, its still business as usual.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

24 more replies