DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Wednesday morning, D.C. Council member Tommy Wells held a press conference to announce legislation to decriminalize “small amounts of marijuana” in the city.
Wells made the announcement at Community Family Life Services – in the 300 block of E Street, NW. It is a nonprofit organization that provieds housing, case management, employment counseling and other services.
Under the bill, the penalty for the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana will be dropped to a civil penalty punishable by a $100 fine. Right now, the misdemeanor offense could lead to up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for an offender. The legislation introduced by Wells would also require juveniles caught with less than an ounce of marijuana to attend a drug awareness program and community service.
According to Wells’ office, an American Civil Liberties Union report claims the District leads the nation in arrests for marijuana possession. The report found D.C. police made 846 arrests for marijuana per 100,000 residents in 2010, compared to 256 per 100,000 nationally.