ACLU-NCA Statement on Marijuana Legalization

February 25, 2015

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, the District of Columbia will become the first jurisdiction on the east coast to legalize marijuana.  Marijuana reform in the District has been cited as among the first marijuana reform efforts primarily aimed at addressing racially biased enforcement of drug laws and was a necessary step to move smart, fair, and compassionate drug policy in the District.  The legalization of marijuana in the District also marks a dramatic shift in public support for drug law reform and reflects the core values of the racial justice movements long building across the country, which reject institutional racism manifested through mass incarceration, the over-policing of Black community and the failed war on drugs. 

ACLU Letter to Mayor Bowser regarding “Empowering Males of Color” Initiative

February 23, 2015

The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital sent a letter on Monday, February 23, 2015, to Mayor Muriel Bowser regarding the “Empowering Males of Color” initiative. 

ACLU-NCA Statement on Lane v. District of Columbia

February 13, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2015

CONTACT: Seema Sadanandan, Policy and Advocacy Director, 202-601-4278,
Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director, 202-457-0800,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On February 12, 2015, a D.C. jury found four defendant police officers not liable in a wrongful death case resulting from the shooting of unarmed Ralphael Briscoe in 2011. However, Ralphael's death remains the result of a disturbing and ongoing pattern of dangerous tactics and strategies employed by the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) in Black communities in the District of Columbia. The ACLU-NCA receives regular complaints about the MPD's use of teams of officers, known as jump-out squads, who patrol neighborhoods in unmarked vehicles and who are not in standard uniform. The purpose of a jump out is to confront citizens with a sudden show of force and intimidate them into them into submission. The confrontational and physically aggressive nature of these interactions, often initiated without legal justification, erodes public trust in law enforcement and diminishes rather than enhances public safety.

The ACLU-NCA Presents Testimony on the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015 and the Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Act of 2015

February 10, 2015

On Monday, February 9, 2015, the ACLU-NCA presented testimony on the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015 and the Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Act of 2015. 

The ACLU-NCA Presents Testimony on the Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2015

February 05, 2015

On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, the ACLU-NCA presented testimony before the D.C. Council's Committee on Education on Bill 21-0001, the Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2015. The stated purpose of Bill 21-0001 is to prohibit the suspension or expulsion of a student of pre-kindergarten age from any publicly funded pre-kindergarten program; and to establish annual reporting requirements for each local education agency on suspensions and expulsions data for prekindergarten-12th grade.

"D.C. Police Chief Says Decrim Makes Cops’ Jobs Easier"

January 20, 2015

By  on January 20, 2015

[Originally published here:]

In her new remarks on Tuesday, Lanier tried to play down decriminalization’s impact even as she portrayed it as a positive change. “Marijuana possession has never been a big arrest category,” she said. “The average officer for the past 20 years has avoided the possession of marijuana arrest because they’ve not been prosecuted for many, many years. I mean, they’re kind of de facto not prosecuted, so it was a waste of time for the officer to make a possession of marijuana arrest, even back when I was an officer.”

But the numbers tell a different story.

The ACLU report, using MPD’s own data, found that there were 5,393 marijuana arrests in 2010, an average of 15 pot busts a day. That means D.C. had a higher marijuana arrest rate that year — 846 arrests per 100,000 people — than any state in the nation. The report also estimated that D.C. spent between $9 million and $43 million on marijuana possession enforcement in 2010, more per capita than any state

The ACLU-NCA applauds tremendous development in civil asset forfeiture reform

January 16, 2015

As announced in the Washington PostAttorney General Holder barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without evidence that a crime occurred.  The Attorney General’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs. The ACLU-NCA applauds this tremendous development.

DC employers are now prohibited from asking about criminal backgrounds during the application and interview process

December 19, 2014

The Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act, now in effect, prohibits employers from asking about criminal backgrounds during the application and interview process.

ACLU Urges D.C. Council to Oppose Corizon Contract

December 16, 2014

The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-NCA) strongly urges the D.C. Council to oppose the Corizon Correctional Healthcare contract (“Corizon”). The D.C. Office of Contracting Procurement awarded Corizon the new 5-year contract for health care at the D.C. Department of Corrections. The ACLU-NCA has serious reservations about this contract award because of Corizon's long history of providing substandard care to prisoners across the country.


December 12, 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (“ACLU-NCA”) announced today that the Congressional appropriations rider does not block enactment of Initiative 71 because it was already enacted according to District law. ACLU-NCA contends that personal possession of marijuana and home cultivation as outlined by Initiative 71 will no longer be criminal at the conclusion of the 60-day Congressional review period.

Everyone can be great,
because everyone can serve.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.