Mayor Bowser’s Office Answers Marijuana Questions
Initiative 71 goes into effect on Feb. 26, legalizing marijuana possession and cultivation in the District.
If only it were that simple.
The law goes into affect in light of Congressional inaction to block it during a 30-legislative-day window in which they have to privilege to do so. The law legalizes the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and six marijuana plants (two of which can be mature). It also allows for the gifting of up to one ounce but includes no provision for sales. However, Congress in its latest spending bill has forbidden the Council from using funds to “enact” any legislation easing marijuana prohibition or establishing a legal market in the District.
Mayor Bowser’s office released the guidance below to help District residents and police navigate the complexities of D.C.’s new marijuana laws. The following is an abbreviated transcript of the District government’s “Initiative 71 and D.C.’s Marijuana Laws: Questions and Answers” document:
Q: When will Initiative 71 become law? A: 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, February 26, 2015.
Q: What is legal under Initiative 71and D.C.’s Marijuana laws? A: It is legal for adults 21 years of age or older to: Possess two ounces or less of marijuana; Grow within their primary residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature; Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person as long as: (1) no money, goods, or services are exchanged; and (2) the recipient is 21 years of age or older; and Consume marijuana on private property.
Q: What will the law still prohibit? A: Even with the enactment of Initiative 71, it will remain a crime for anyone to: Possess more than two ounces of marijuana; Smoke or consume marijuana on public space or anywhere to which the public is invited; Sell any amount of marijuana to another person; or Operate a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana.
Q: What is the impact of Initiative 71 on persons under 21? A: Anyone under 21 years of age is still prohibited from possessing any amount of marijuana. If marijuana is found in the possession of a youth under 21, police will seize the marijuana. If the person has more than two ounces, the person can also be arrested.
Q: How will Initiative 71 apply to federal property in the District? A: It doesn’t. It will continue to be illegal to use marijuana in public anywhere in the District of Columbia. Under federal law, federal law enforcement officers may arrest anyone in the District for possession of any amount of marijuana.
Q: Where can marijuana be bought for personal consumption? A: Marijuana can be grown at home or shared; it can’t be sold. Home grow; home use. Home cultivation is permitted of up to 3 mature plants or 6 mature plants in a household with multiple adults who are 21 and over. Up to one ounce of marijuana can be shared so long as there is no exchange of money, good or services.
Q: I thought the District was going to tax and regulate marijuana? A: Congressional interference means the District can’t enact any regulatory framework for the sale or taxation of marijuana. So, for now, marijuana cannot be sold, or taxed.