In 2011, 4,300 people were arrested for marijuana possession in D.C., an increase of 2,150 arrests for the exact same crime ten years prior. Metro Police Department statistics show that marijuana-related arrests have increased in general, as there were 3,487 in 2001 compared to 5,759 in 2011.
D.C. Council candidate Paul Zukerberg says "MPD is snatching 6,000 people off the street, hauling them off to jail, and running them through the criminal justice system every year. These non-violent citizens—mostly young black men—are being saddled with permanent criminal records, and sentenced to a lifetime of underemployment." Zukerberg is a defense attorney who has worked marijuana cases and promises to push for the decriminalization of small amounts if he's elected next month.
According to DCist, D.C. has a high number of marijuana arrests per capita, occasionally ranking among the country's highest. The Washingtonian did a cover story in 2012 which revealed that many well-off D.C. residents enjoy a little weed every now and then. Still, most marijuana arrests in D.C. are young, black men.
The district treats possession as a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.