D.C. police say they will take fewer people into custody when they are caught using marijuana in public, and instead cite them the way they would someone caught for a moving violation.
The new policy was announced late Friday by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chief Peter Newsham. It says that most arrests for the public use of marijuana, which is illegal in D.C., will now be noncustodial, meaning that the suspect will be cited but not arrested. Instead, suspects will be ordered to appear at a local police station within 15 days, where they can either pay a $25 fine or choose to contest the charge in court.
Police have always been able to cite people for marijuana use but not take them into custody, but the new policy makes it standard practice. The only exceptions will be for juveniles, anyone with a warrant or pending criminal charge against them, a person who refuses to identify themselves, or is engaged in other illegal activity at the time. The policy also won’t apply on federal lands which make up 22 percent of the city, nor will federal police agencies like the Park Police or Secret Service be required to abide by it. [Read more at DCist]