Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council voted 11 to 1 on Tuesday in favor of legislation reducing marijuana possession penalties.
The measure, "The Simple Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2013," amends the District’s marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000) to a civil infraction (punishable by a $25 fine).
Provisions in the bill similarly decriminalizing marijuana offenses involving public consumption were removed from the measure prior to the vote.
A final vote by the DC Council on this measure is expected to occur in early March. Following approval by District lawmakers, the legislation is also subject to Congressional review.
A 2012 analysis published by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland reported that DC possesses the highest percentage of marijuana possession arrests per capita in the nation.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.