Marijuana Law Won’t Have ‘Huge Impact’ On Crime, Says D.C. Police Chief Lanier

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she doesn’t think new legislation on marijuana will have a big impact on crime in the District, even as a bill decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is awaiting Congressional review.

At a taping of Kojo In Your Community at NPR Headquarters on Wednesday night, Lanier said that “very, very few” people actually spend time in jail for possessing small quantities of marijuana.

“Anybody that spends time in jail for marijuana probably had a pretty good quantity of marijuana, or was arrested for distribution or sale,” Lanier said. “Marijuana has not been one of those things that you see lengthy jail terms for, at least not since I’ve been in policing here.”

Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana currently carries a maximum criminal penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The new bill passed by a 10-1 vote in the D.C. Council last week reduces the penalty for possession to a $25 civil fine.

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