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Mayor Bowser Implements Policy to Reduce Number of People Taken into Custody for Public Consumption of Marijuana

Friday, September 21, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham announced a policy change that will reduce the number of people taken into custody for “Public Consumption of Marijuana.” Under the new policy, all arrests made for “Public Consumption of Marijuana” must be noncustodial if the arrestee is considered eligible. In the past, a citation (or noncustodial arrest) for “Public Consumption of Marijuana” was an option, but not mandatory procedure.

“We cherish the trust we have built between residents and the police. This policy will reduce the number of people who are taken into custody and allow us to better focus our efforts and resources on building a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser.

A person receiving a citation for “Public Consumption of Marijuana” must go to a police station for booking within 15 days, and can then choose to go to court or pay a $25 fine.

Arrestees who are not considered eligible for a non-custodial arrest (61-D) for “Public Consumption of Marijuana” include: juveniles, people with diplomatic immunity, people with outstanding warrants, people who cannot be positively identified, people who may damage property or cause injury to themselves or others, people who an officer has reason to believe will not appear to answer the citation, and people subject to another criminal charge that is not eligible for a non-custodial arrest.