Washington DC Eases Public Consumption Penalties

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog

Washington DC voters legalized medicinal cannabis in 1998 when they passed Initiative 59 with 69% of the vote, though an operational regulation system was not in place until January 1, 2011.

The Council of the District of Columbia decriminalized cannabis possession in March of 2014 and citizens approved Initiative 71 the following November, legalizing cannabis for adult use.

Even though marijuana has been legal in DC for a few years now, things like recreational sales and public consumption are not still allowed in 2018.

But while buying and selling adult-use cannabis remains illegal, the penalties for public consumption just got reduced for most people.

In the past, getting caught smoking a joint in public might have resulted in an arrest, but after Friday announcements by Mayor Muriel Bowser [D] and Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham, eligible offenders will now be handed a citation.

Previously, citations were an option but not a part of mandatory police procedure.

“We cherish the trust we have built between residents and the police,” said Bowser. “This policy will reduce the number of people who are taken into custody and allow us to better focus our efforts and resources on building a safer, stronger DC.”

Exceptions to the new policy include juveniles, people with outstanding warrants, individuals at risk of causing property damage or bodily harm to themselves or others, people with diplomatic immunity, people who cannot be positively identified, potential flight risks, and those with other criminal charges that are not eligible for non-custodial arrest.

Those who receive a Public Consumption of Marijuana citation must report to a police station for booking within fifteen days and may then choose to go to court or pay a $25 fine.