After many hurdles, the marijuana legalization amendment approved by voters in November 2014 went into effect in the first minute of Thursday February 26.
Although there will not be any legally-operating recreational marijuana dispensaries in the capital city of the United States, there are many changes that residents should understand to prevent any misunderstandings.
Under the new law, adults aged 21 and older may legally:
- Possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis at any time.
- Use marijuana on private property.
- Gift (without payment) up to 1 ounce of cannabis to another adult.
- Cultivate up to 6 plants in a secure location, no more than 3 of which can be mature.
The legalization amendment did not alter the ban on public usage, however, nor driving under the influence. Any person caught using marijuana in public or driving after using will still risk legal trouble. Any person caught trading marijuana for money, instead of ‘gifting,’ will also still risk prosecution.
What are the penalties?
- An individual arrested for consuming marijuana in public will face up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.
- First time offenders convicted of selling marijuana will face 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine.
- Restaurant and business owners that allow patrons to use marijuana will risk losing their business license and certificate of occupancy.
On February 24, Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted the infographic below to help simplify the new laws for District residents. Even more useful tools and a list of frequently asked questions to help residents of Washington D.C. understand the new laws can be found on mayor.dc.gov, and they are printed below.