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Washinton DC Marijuana Law

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Penalty Details

Possession

Adults 21 years of age or older may possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants (with three or fewer mature at any one time) in their primary residence without penalty. Transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older is also permitted.

See

  • Ballot Initiative 71

Unless marijuana was obtained through a doctor’s recommendation, intentional or knowing possession of more than two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a penalty of incarceration of up to 6 months and a fine of not more than $1,000.

For a first offense: the court may, without entering a judgment of guilty and with the consent of such person, defer further proceedings and place him or her on probation upon such reasonable conditions as it may require and for such period, not to exceed one year, as the court may prescribe. This action does not qualify as a conviction.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-904.01

Sale, Distribution, Intent to Distribute, and Cultivation

Adults 21 and older may cultivate up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature at any one time) in their primary residence without penalty. Not-for-profit transactions involving small amounts of the substance are also permitted.

See

  • Ballot Initiative 71

An offender who been convicted of distribution, manufacture, or possession with intent to distribute may be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, fined not more than $50,000, or both. For a first conviction, and offender with no prior convictions for distribution, manufacture, or possession with intent to distribute, and who was caught with ½ pounds or less of marijuana, may be imprisoned for not more than 6 months or fined not more than $1000 or both.

For a first offense: the court may, without entering a judgment of guilty and with the consent of such person, defer further proceedings and place him or her on probation upon such reasonable conditions as it may require and for such period, not to exceed one year, as the court may prescribe.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-904.01

Distribution to a minor by a person over 21 brings a doubled penalty.

See

  • § 48-904.06 (b) 

The enlistment of a minor to distribute a controlled substance by one who is over 21 can be punished with up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. For a second offense, an offender can be imprisoned for no longer than 20 years and fined not more than $20,000.

See

  • D.C. Code §48-904.07 (b)

Distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute within 1000 feet of an appropriately identified public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, junior college, college, or university, or any public swimming pool, playground, video arcade, youth center, or public library, or in and around public housing may bring a doubled penalty.

See

  • D.C. Code §48-904.07a

If a violation occurs after the person has been convicted the person shall be imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or fined not more than $5,000, or both.

See

  • Ballot Initiative 71

Hash & Concentrates

Hashish is a Schedule II drug in Washington D.C.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-902.06(F)

Possession of hashish is punishable upon conviction with imprisonment for not more than 180 days and a fine of not more than $1,000.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-904.01(d)(1)

Manufacturing or selling hashish is punishable, upon conviction, with imprisonment for not more than 5 years and a fine of not more than $50,000.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-904.01(a)

Conditional Release for 1st time offenders is available, and record expungement occurs, by request, after successful completion of the program.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-904.01(e)(1)

Hash pipes, sifters, and bubble bags are paraphernalia in Washington D.C., and conviction for possession of such will lead to imprisonment for not more than 30 days and a fine for not more than $100.

See

  • D.C. Code § 48-1101(3)
  • D.C. Code § 48-1103(a)

Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia possession or sale, for any person 21 years of age or older, is permitted for the use, growing, or processing of marijuana or cannabis. Any person in violation of possession laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days or fined for not more than $100, or both. Any person in violation of selling laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 6 months or fined for not more than $1,000, or both. For a subsequent violation a person shall be imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or fined not more than $5,000, or both.

See

  • Ballot Initiative 71

Forfeiture

The following are subject to forfeiture:

  1. All controlled substances which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or acquired in violation of this chapter;
  2. All raw materials, products, and equipment of any kind which are used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, or delivering any controlled substance in violation of this chapter;
  3. All property which is used, or intended for use, as a container for said controlled substances;
  4. All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, which are used, or intended for use, to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, for the purpose of sale or receipt of said controlled substances;
  5. All books, records, and research products and materials, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data, which are used, or intended for use, in violation of drug laws;
  6. All cash or currency which has been used, or intended for use, in violation of drug laws;
  7. Everything of value furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance ; and
  8. Any real property that is used or intended to be used in any manner to commit or facilitate the commission of a violation of drug laws.

See

  • D.C. Code §48-905.02
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

Legalization

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.

District of Columbia Drugged Driving

In the District of Columbia, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she operates any vehicle while under the influence of any drug. D.C. Code § 50-2201.05(b)(1)(A)(i)(II) (2010).

Implied Consent

  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle within the District shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to 2 chemical tests of the person’s blood, urine, or breath, for the purpose of determining blood-alcohol content or blood-drug content. Id. § 50-1902(a)-(b).
  • If a person under arrest refuses to submit to chemical testing, the officer must inform the driver that their license will be revoked for one year if they do not submit to chemical testing. If after have been informed, the driver still refuses, no test shall be given, and the officer shall immediately revoke the driver’s license. Id. § 50-1905.
  • Evidence of such refusal shall be admissible in any related civil or criminal proceedings. Id. § 50-1905, 1906.
  • Refusal of motorist arrested for DUI to take chemical test was evidence from which a judge could infer a consciousness of guilt. Karamychev v. District of Columbia, 772 A.2d 806 (2001).
  • Police refusal to let defendant consult with legal counsel before deciding whether to take chemical tests did not violate his rights. District of Columbia v. Lynn, 111 WLR 2149 (Super. Ct. 1983).
  • The person tested may, in addition to submitting to the 2 tests administered at the direction of a police officer, also submit to chemical test(s) administered to him by a qualified person of his own choosing. The failure or inability to obtain an additional test by a person shall not preclude the admission of the tests taken at the direction of a police officer. D.C. Code § 50-1903 (2010).
  • Protections do not apply if the driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident. Id. § 50-1906.

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of $300; possible imprisonment for not more than 90 days. Id. § 50-2201.05 (b)(1)(A)(ii).
  • Second offense (w/i 15 years) – fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000; imprisonment for not more than one year and not less than a mandatory-minimum of 5 days; the court may impose a sentence of at least 30 days of community service; one year license suspension. Id. § 50-2201.05 (b)(1)(B)(i), (iii).
  • Third and subsequent offense(w/i 15 years) – fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000; imprisonment for not more than one year, but not less than a mandatory-minimum of 10 days; offender may be required to perform at least 60 days of community service; two year license suspension. Id. § 50-2201.05 (b)(1)(C)(i), (iii).

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • DUI while transporting a person 17 years of age or younger shall carry an additional minimum fine of $500 and not more than $1000 and 48 hours of community service benefiting children for the first such offense and 80 hours of community service for a subsequent such offense. Id. § 50-2201.05 (b)(1)(D).

Sobriety Checkpoints

The District of Columbia allows law enforcement officials to conduct roadblocks under the Federal Constitution.

  • Police roadblock was sufficiently productive of Government’s interests in checking for expected problems of motorists operating without permits, operating after revocation and operating with impaired mobility to drive to satisfy roadblock requirement that there be more than complete absence of data indicating effectiveness; arrests occurred involving approximately 2.4% of stopped vehicles. Galberth v. U.S.,590 A.2d 990(D.C.,1991).
  • Although the principal purpose of a checkpoint is to check license and registration, the fact that the effort has an added benefit of deterring drunk driving and/or drug trafficking does not make it invalid. Duncan v. U.S., 629 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1993).

Case Law

Thomas v. District of Columbia, 942 A.2d 645 (2008) — A person is guilty of driving under the influence of a marijuana if he or she is impaired to the slightest degree, either mentally or physically or both, and unable to use the clear judgment and/or coordination necessary to handle an automobile. Defendant had bloodshot eyes, was sweating, and failed sobriety tests. Officers also noted that there was a piece of paper that looked like a smoked joint in defendant’s car. Defendant refused to submit to urinalysis testing, and was convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana, notwithstanding the lack of chemical evidence.

Staten v. U.S., 562 A.2d 90 (1989) – After a lawful stop for an illegal U-turn and subsequent arrest for DUI, police officers were entitled to search the interior of the automobile, including locked glove compartment.

Karamychev v. District of Columbia, 772 A.2d 806 (2001) — Refusal of motorist arrested for DUI to take chemical test was evidence from which a judge could infer a consciousness of guilt.

District of Columbia v. Sellers, 117 WLR 1017 (1989) – The offense of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a drug requires a causal relationship between the presence of a drug in a person’s body and the manner in which the person is operating a motor vehicle at the time of the traffic offense.

District of Columbia Medical Marijuana Law

Status

Operational

Law Signed:

2010

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • Any debilitating condition as recommended by a DC licensed doctor

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

Two ounces

HOME CULTIVATION

No

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES ALLOWED

Yes, medical dispensaries may grow up to 500 plants on site at any one time. Both non-profit and for-profit organizations are eligible to operate the dispensaries.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Yes

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES

  • D.C. Act 13-138 §2 (3) (2010)

CAREGIVERS

Yes, a caregiver is a person designated by a qualifying patient as the person authorized to possess, obtain from a dispensary, dispense, and assist in the administration of medical marijuana. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The caregiver must be registered with the Department as the qualifying patient’s caregiver. A caregiver may only serve one qualifying patient at a time.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

No

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