Decriminalization Arrives, And D.C. Police Prepare For Sea Change In Marijuana Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: On Wednesday, a D.C. police officer who caught someone carrying a small amount of marijuana was required to launch his suspect on an onerous journey through the criminal justice system — possibly involving handcuffs, fingerprinting and forensic analysis.

On Thursday, that same officer faces the simpler task of pulling out a ticket book and checking a box: littering, or possession of marijuana?

lengthy civic debate over how to handle the most minor of drug offenses culminated at midnight Wednesday when a marijuana decriminalization law passed by the D.C. Council this spring completed a 60-day congressional review period and took effect.

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