Punishment reduced for smoking marijuana in public in D.C.

A rise in the use of medical marijuana has spurred a debate about organ transplantation, and it's changing some laws across the nation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – D.C. Police and Mayor Bowser announced a policy change Friday that would reduce the punishment for getting caught smoking marijuana in public in the District.

The policy change of “Public Consumption of Marijuana” mandates that officers only give violators a citation rather than taking them into custody. The previous law still gave officers the option to forgo a custodial arrest, but it will no longer be a choice.

Officials say the change will reduce the amount of people taken into custody and allow law enforcement to focus resources elsewhere.

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

Per police, the following arrestees are not eligible for non-custodial arrest: 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.