Qualifying people using marijuana in public will now face citations instead of arrests in the District of Columbia.

The city’s mayor and police chief announced this month that those who qualify will receive a citation instead of being taken into custody. The new policy takes effect immediately.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham said all arrests for “public consumption of marijuana” must be noncustodial, if the person arrested is eligible.

“We cherish the trust we have built between residents and the police. This policy will reduce the number of people who are taken into custody and allow us to better focus our efforts and resources on building a safer, stronger D.C.,” the mayor explained.

Metropolitan police have had the option to forgo arrests, but this new rule now mandates it.

Those who qualify to receive a citation must go to a police station for booking within 15 days and will either pay a $25 fine or go to court.

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