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National Drug Intelligence Center
District of Columbia Drug Threat Assessment Update
Marijuana is widely available and abused in D.C. The percentage of D.C. residents who report marijuana abuse is statistically comparable to the percentage nationwide. According to the 1999 and 2000 NHSDA, 5.2 percent of D.C. residents reported having abused marijuana at least once in the month prior to the survey compared with 4.8 percent nationwide. According to TEDS data, there were 367 marijuana-related admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities in D.C. in 2001, a 24 percent decrease from 484 in 2000. DAWN data indicate that there were 2,510 marijuana ED mentions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in 2000 and 2,135 in 2001. Preliminary estimates indicate that there were 843 marijuana ED mentions from January through June 2002. In 2001 the rate of marijuana ED mentions per 100,000 population in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (51) was higher than the rate nationwide (44). (See Table 1 in Cocaine section.)
According to FDSS, federal law enforcement officials seized 3.6 kilograms of marijuana in 2002; however, the Metropolitan Police Department reported seizing 59.5 kilograms. The percentage of drug-related federal sentences that were marijuana-related in D.C. in FY2001 (7.7%) was significantly lower than the national percentage (32.8%), according to USSC data. (See Table 2 in Cocaine section.)
Marijuana, both commercial-grade and high-grade, is available in D.C. Prices for both are wide-ranging but relatively stable. In D.C. commercial-grade marijuana sold for $400 to $1,750 per pound and $100 per ounce, and high-grade marijuana sold for $2,600 to $5,000 per pound and $400 per ounce in the fourth quarter of FY2002, according to the DEA Washington Division. Cannabis cultivation is very limited in D.C., primarily due to its urban setting.
Jamaican and Mexican criminal groups are the dominant marijuana transporters; however, crews and local independent dealers of various ethnic backgrounds also transport marijuana into the District. Most of the marijuana available in D.C. is produced in Mexico and is transported from southwestern states, primarily via package delivery services. Additional quantities of marijuana are transported into D.C. via private and commercial vehicles and couriers aboard commercial aircraft.
Jamaican and Mexican criminal groups are the principal distributors of wholesale quantities of marijuana in D.C.; however, no single criminal group, crew, or local independent dealer controls the majority of wholesale- or retail-level marijuana distribution in the District. Most crews that sell retail quantities of cocaine also distribute marijuana. Marijuana typically is sold at the same venues as cocaine.
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