Decriminalization Laws for Marijuana Possession in DC 

The decriminalization of drugs could mean different things. In Washington, DC, decriminalization usually refers to the elimination of criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana for personal use. Decriminalization resulted in personal possession of marijuana being completely legalized in the District for people over 21 years of age. There are other parts of decriminalization laws for marijuana possession in DC that cover the sharing of marijuana, growing of marijuana plants, and public consumption of marijuana. Marijuana legalization in DC is a complex law with a lot sections and several exceptions. Generally, decriminalization means that a person can be in legal possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. However, marijuana is not permitted to be consumed in public areas. A person cannot smoke marijuana in public areas including inside bars, restaurants, or on sidewalks. If you want to know more about decriminalization of marijuana possession, speak with a seasoned possession attorney that could protect your rights.

Drugs That Are Typically Decriminalized

Decriminalization laws for marijuana possession in DC mean that a person is legally permitted to be in possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for their own personal use. A person is also permitted to be in possession of six cannabis plants if no more than three of them are matured. DC’s legalization law does not legalize the sale of marijuana. It does not legalize the sharing of marijuana in exchange for anything of value. A person is permitted to share, without receiving compensation, up to one ounce of marijuana with another person. These laws do not include any other controlled substances besides marijuana.

Charges Individuals Could Still Face Under Decriminalization

A person can still be charged with public consumption of marijuana by smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana in a public place. However, parts of decriminalization laws for marijuana possession in DC legalized some types of marijuana possession. For example, a person is permitted to grow cannabis for personal use if they do not grow more than six plants, and no more than three of those plants have matured.

A person is also permitted to share up to one ounce of marijuana with another person if they do not receive anything of value in exchange for the marijuana. This has been a highly contested part of marijuana legalization as it relates to the presence of marijuana distribution businesses in DC for marijuana giveaways. DC marijuana legalization laws still make it a crime to exchange marijuana for something of value or share more than one ounce of marijuana with another person.

Penalties for Discrimination

Decriminalization in Washington, DC only relates to the legalization of the personal possession of marijuana. The DC marijuana legalization laws keep other actions illegal and subject to criminal penalties. For example, even though marijuana possession of up to two ounces is now legal, it is still possible to be charged and convicted for driving a vehicle or operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. In that sense, marijuana is like alcohol where alcohol is a legal substance and a person over the age of 21 can purchase it, but they can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana is treated in a similar way. A person can be in possession of marijuana if it is two ounces or less, but they can be charged with allegations of being under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle.

Factors That Qualify Individuals for Leniency

While possession of marijuana is completely legalized in DC, it is different from other states that decriminalized marijuana. The distinction between decriminalization and legalization is that decriminalization often refers to the elimination of a criminal penalty for certain aspects. As an example, some say that decriminalized marijuana only eliminated the possible criminal penalty such as the possibilities of jail time and replaced those penalties with a civil fine. A person does not face arrest on criminal charges for marijuana possession and only receives a civil fine.

DC legalization of marijuana went further and eliminates all penalties from marijuana possession. That means marijuana is treated like alcohol in some ways. A person can be in possession of marijuana if they are over 21. The main difference between marijuana and alcohol is that the sale and distribution of marijuana is still criminalized. Although it is legal to purchase marijuana, it is illegal to be the person selling it and that creates complicated situations for people in Washington, DC. If an individual wants to know more about decriminalization laws for marijuana possession in DC, they should speak with a knowledgeable marijuana possession lawyer that could answer their questions.