In an historic vote, today the D.C. Council passed legislation reducing the penalty for possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil violation. Instead of arrest, prosecution and a criminal record, people caught with weed will soon pay a $25 fine. The law still must be approved by the Mayor, who said he will sign it, and then await a 60 day congressional review period. (only days in session count) Great news for young people. D.C. currently has the highest per capita arrest rate for marijuana possession offense in the nation. 91% of those arrests or people of color, mostly young black men. Wisely D.C. voters have woken up to the realization that criminalizing possession of small amounts of weed is counterproductive. You can read more in my Washington Post OpEd piece here: https://dcmarijuanalaw.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1493&action=edit
Unfortunately, for others, including the private prison industry, and criminal defense lawyers, the news is not so happy. Defending people charged with pot has been an enjoyable (and profitable) occupation for me. But now, I don’t suppose many people will hire counsel to fight their $25 tickets. Look for me at the next job fair.