New marijuana law takes effect in D.C.

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana in the capital takes effect on Thursday with D.C. police only fining those found holding an ounce or less of the weed $25 and confiscating the drug.

Smoking pot in public or bringing any amount of the drug on federal properties, like Rock Creek Park and the Mall, remains criminal, however. The Office of the Attorney General will prosecute cases in which individuals are charged with smoking marijuana in public, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office will handle cases in which an individual is caught with more than one ounce of pot or is caught in possession of the drug on federal land, said Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District, according to Washington Times.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) ordered its officers to review an 8-page special order detailing the new law and to complete an online training program before ticketing or arresting offenders.

The MPD is also printing business card-size information sheets that explain the new drug law. The card will be distributed to residents.

Under the new drug law, smelling the odor of marijuana is not a ground for ticketing or arrest and police cannot force a person possessing up to one ounce of weed to produce identification.

The D.C. Council passed the marijuana decriminalization bill in March and it took effect after a 60-day congressional review period.

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