Washington D.C. Now Punishes Littering Harsher Than Marijuana Possession

5

Yesterday, carrying cannabis in America’s capital city meant you could go to jail. Today, it means you’re less of a criminal than a litterer.

When the clock struck midnight on July 17, 2014 (last night), Washington D.C. changed forever. The nation’s capital has officially decriminalized cannabis, and D.C.’s police forth can no longer arrest anyone possessing under an ounce of marijuana.

Instead, starting today, individuals carrying pot will be met with a mere $25 fine–or $50 less than the $75 someone who litters is fined in the District of Columbia. Considering that the smell of cannabis no longer even warrants a cop search, people in D.C. will have to be wearing a nugstache or handing out free weed to receive a fine.

But it remains ill-advised to attempt to spark a joint at the White House: public consumption still can equal a $500 fine and time behind bars. There’s only one catch:

Among the vagaries of decriminalization is that federal law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Park Police, Secret Service and Capitol Police may still arrest anyone carrying any amount of marijuana under federal drug statutes. [Washington Post]

That law remains the case in any state with decriminalized cannabis, yet these instances are extremely rare. Thus, the District’s denizens can finally feel comfortable and free to walk around with pot in their pockets, even if they must still smoke it in private (and purchase it off the black market).

Likewise, today marks a monumental day for D.C., which joins 16 current decriminalized marijuana states (Maryland joins them in the fall).

Right under the nose of Congress, marijuana reform is thriving.

The full law’s official wording, via NORML states that:

“The Simple Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment Act” measure amends District law involving the possession or transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by up to 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000) to a civil violation (punishable by a $25.00 fine, no arrest, no jail time, and no criminal record).

Nearly a year ago, Washington D.C. began it’s limited medical marijuana program. Now, activists in the District are pushing for more reform: full legalization.

Every day, it seems like another state or city progresses its antiquated marijuana policies. We’re living in a new, evolving America and you’ve got to admit, it’s getting better for weed all the time.

One more time:

Littering: $75

and

Marijuana Possession: $25

littering and SMOKING THE REEFER

About Author

Barry has been writing about marijuana for over five years. Prior to joining Marijuana.com, Barry wrote about sports and music. His work has appeared on TIME, The Huffington Post, Deadspin, and elsewhere on the Internet. In his spare time, he enjoys disco and Kosher Kush.

5 Comments

    • Robert,

      First, not all states have a 3rd strikes law. But I’m afraid you don’t understand what 3rd strikes laws do or how they work. I’m a criminal lawyer in California, which was the first state to enact 3rd strike legislation. Third strike laws are enhancements of penalties for a third offense after a defendant has suffered two earlier convictions for crimes that are either violent or serious. The statutes define which particular crimes fit into those categories. Just last year, California changed its 3rd strike laws to require that the 3rd conviction must also be for a violent or serious felony. You have to separate the 3rd strike enhancement and the offense whose punishment is made more severe. For example, if the third crime is only a misdemeanor or even a felony that is not on the list of serious or violent felonies, the 3rd strike laws don’t apply.

      So, if possession of less than 1 oz. of weed is no longer even a criminal offense in DC, it can’t be punished by anything more than the $25 civil penalty. A state can’t apply a penalty enhancement to what is not a violation of the criminal laws.

  1. Littering is thoughtless and is an assault upon the senses and property of others. Cannabis is just cannabis.

Leave A Reply