Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter V. Enforcement and Administrative Provisions.


§ 48–905.01. Cooperative arrangements; confidentiality.

(a) The Mayor shall cooperate with the Board of Education, federal agencies, and other state agencies in discharging the Mayor’s responsibilities concerning traffic in controlled substances and in suppressing the abuse of controlled substances. To this end, the Mayor may:

(1) Arrange for the exchange of general information among governmental officials concerning the general use and abuse of controlled substances; and

(2) Coordinate and cooperate in training programs concerning controlled substance law enforcement within the District of Columbia.

(b) Results, information, and evidence received from the D.E.A. relating to the regulatory functions of this chapter, including results of inspections conducted by it, may be relied and acted upon by the Mayor in the exercise of the Mayor’s regulatory functions under this chapter.

(c)(1) A practitioner engaged in medical practice or research shall not nor shall be compelled to:

(A) Furnish to the Mayor the name or identity of a patient or research subject without the prior consent of the patient or research subject; or

(B) Furnish the name or identity of an individual that the practitioner is obligated to keep confidential in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings in the District of Columbia without prior consent of such individual.

(2) This section per se shall not limit, in a criminal investigation or prosecution or in an administrative proceeding by the Commission on Licensure to Practice the Healing Art in the District of Columbia, the authority to subpoena dispensing logs or other records of a practitioner containing information concerning the sale, prescription, or distribution of controlled substances under this chapter. The court may order sealed any information furnished without consent, pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 501, 28 DCR 3081.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-551.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority to implement D.C. Law 4-29, the “District of Columbia Uniformed Controlled Substances Act of 1981”, see Mayor’s Order 98-49, April 15, 1998 ( 45 DCR 2694).


§ 48–905.02. Forfeitures.

(a) The following property is subject to forfeiture if determined to be used in furtherance of or as proceeds of the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance as prohibited by §  48-904.01(a): containers, conveyances, equipment, raw materials, real property, money, currency, securities, negotiable instruments, instrumentalities, books, records, and research products, including formulas and data.

(b) Contraband is not subject to forfeiture under this section, but may be seized and disposed of in accordance with applicable law; provided, that controlled substances shall be retained until the prosecutorial authority responsible for prosecuting a violation under this chapter certifies that such controlled substances are no longer needed as evidence.

(c) No property shall be subject to forfeiture for conduct involving only a violation of § 48-904.01(d).

(d) All seizures and forfeitures under this section shall follow the standards and procedures set forth in D.C. Law 20-278.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 502, 28 DCR 3081; Apr. 3, 1982, D.C. Law 4-96, § 2, 29 DCR 762; Sept. 29, 1988, D.C. Law 7-162, § 2, 35 DCR 5733; Dec. 12, 1989, 103 Stat. 1901, Pub. L. 101-223, § 6; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-138, § 2(d), 37 DCR 2638; Sept. 26, 1992, D.C. Law 9-155, § 2(a), 39 DCR 5679; Mar. 25, 1993, D.C. Law 9-253, § 3, 40 DCR 790; May 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-255, § 25, 41 DCR 5193; June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-284, § 10(c), 46 DCR 1328; October 4, 2000, D.C. Law 13-160, § 403(b), 47 DCR 4619; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 9067(a), 58 DCR 6226; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 98(d), 59 DCR 6190; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-278, § 201(b), 62 DCR 1920.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-552.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2507.06a, § 22-902, and § 22-2723.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-160 rewrote subsec. (b) which formerly provided: “(b) Property subject to forfeiture under this chapter may be seized by law enforcement officials, as designated by the Mayor, or designated civilian employees of the Metropolitan Police Department, upon process issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia having jurisdiction over the property, or without process if authorized by other law.”

D.C. Law 19-21 rewrote subsec. (d)(3)(B), which formerly read:

“(B) Any person claiming the property may, at any time within 30 days from the date of receipt of notice of seizure, file with the Mayor a claim stating his or her interest in the property. Upon the filing of a claim, the claimant shall give a bond to the District government in the penal sum of $2,500 or 10% of the fair market value of the claimed property (as appraised by the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department), whichever is lower, but not less than $250, with sureties to be approved by the Mayor. In case of forfeiture of the claimed property, the costs and expenses of the forfeiture proceedings shall be deducted from the bonds. Any costs that exceed the amount of the bond shall be paid by the claimant. In determining the fair market value of the property seized, the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department shall consider any verifiable and reasonable evidence of value that the claimant may present. The balance of the proceeds shall be transferred to the Drug Interdiction and Demand Reduction Fund (’Fund’) created by subchapter VII of this chapter. The Fund shall remain available until expended regardless of the expiration of the fiscal year in which the proceeds were collected. The Fund shall be distributed in the following descending order of priority:

“ (i) To fund law enforcement activities of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, except that, beginning October 1, 1990, not more than 49% of the total amount deposited to the Fund in the immediately preceding quarter-year period shall be used for this purpose in the next succeeding quarter-year period; and

“(ii) To provide grants to fund community-based drug education, prevention, and demand reduction programs;”

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-171 validated a previously made technical correction.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-278 rewrote the section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 10(c) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization and Street Solicitation for Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-428, August 6, 1998, 45 DCR 5884), § 10(c) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-506, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 45 8139), and § 10(c) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-13, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2333).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 10(c) of Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-282, May 28, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 5148).

References in Text

Section 23-527, referred to in subsec. (a-1), did not exist in the 1981 Edition at the time of the recodification into the 2001 Edition.

Editor's Notes

Mayor to implement public information program: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 48-901.02.

D.C. Law 20-278, referred to in (d), enacted Chapter 3 of Title 41 (§ 41-301 et seq.), made amendments to the criminal offenses in §§ 48-901.02 and 48-905.02, and made conforming amendments to §§ 7-2507.06a, 8-905, 22-902, 22-1705, 22-2723, 32-1343, 48-905.03, and 50-1501.04.


§ 48–905.03. Burden of proof.

(a) It is not necessary for the prosecution to negate any exemption or exception in this chapter in any complaint, information, indictment, or other pleading or in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding under this chapter. The burden of proof of any exemption or exception is upon the person claiming it.

(b) In the absence of proof that a person is the duly authorized holder of an appropriate registration or order form issued under this chapter, he or she is presumed not to be the holder of the registration or form. The burden of proof is upon him or her to rebut the presumption.

(c) Subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to D.C. Law 20-278.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 503, 28 DCR 3081; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-278, § 301, 62 DCR 1920.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-553.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 48-903.04.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-278 added (c).

Editor's Notes

D.C. Law 20-278, referred to in (c), enacted Chapter 3 of Title 41 (§ 41-301 et seq.), made amendments to the criminal offenses in §§ 48-901.02 and 48-905.02, and made conforming amendments to §§ 7-2507.06a, 8-905, 22-902, 22-1705, 22-2723, 32-1343, 48-905.03, and 50-1501.04.


§ 48–905.04. Educational programs; research purposes.

(a) The Mayor shall establish and operate an educational program consisting of films, lectures, panel discussions, or whatever other educational device the Mayor deems necessary and appropriate to enlighten persons on the habitual use of controlled substances in general and to instill in persons participating in such a program a respect for the law and legal institutions.

(b) The Mayor shall cooperate with the Board of Education in preparing similar programs for school children with the purpose of preventing their abuse of controlled substances.

(c) The Mayor shall prepare and operate similar and appropriate programs for children found to be delinquent for violation of the provisions of this chapter.

(d) The Mayor may authorize the possession and distribution of controlled substances by persons engaged in research. Possession and distribution of controlled substances by such persons, in the course of their research and to the extent of the authorization, does not violate the provisions of this chapter.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 504, 28 DCR 3081.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-554.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-2320.


§ 48–905.05. Administrative inspections.

(a) The Mayor may make administrative inspections of controlled premises in accordance with the following provisions:

(1) For purposes of this section only, the term “controlled premises” means:

(A) Places where persons registered or exempted from registration requirements under this chapter are required to keep records; and

(B) Places including factories, warehouses, establishments, and conveyances in which persons registered or exempted from registration requirements under this chapter are permitted to hold, manufacture, compound, process, sell, deliver, or otherwise dispose of any controlled substance.

(2) When authorized by an administrative inspection warrant issued pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, an officer, an employee designated by the Mayor, or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, upon presenting the warrant and appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge, may enter controlled premises for the purpose of conducting an administrative inspection.

(3) When authorized by an administrative inspection warrant, an officer or employee designated by the Mayor may:

(A) Inspect and copy records required by this chapter to be kept;

(B) Inspect, within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, controlled premises and all pertinent equipment, finished and unfinished material, containers and labeling found therein, and, except as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection, all other things therein, including records, files, papers, processes, controls, and facilities bearing on violation of this chapter; and

(C) Inventory any stock of any controlled substance therein and obtain samples thereof.

(4) This section does not prevent the inspection without a warrant of books and records pursuant to an administrative subpoena issued in accordance with § 48-905.07 nor does it prevent entries and administrative inspections, including seizures of property, without a warrant:

(A) If the owner, operator, or agent in charge of the controlled premises consents;

(B) In situations presenting imminent danger to health or safety;

(C) In situations involving inspection of conveyances if there is reasonable cause to believe that the mobility of the conveyance makes it impracticable to obtain a warrant;

(D) In any other exceptional or emergency circumstance where time or opportunity to apply for a warrant is lacking; or

(E) In all other situations in which a warrant is not constitutionally required.

(5) An inspection authorized by this section shall not extend to financial data, sales data, other than shipment data, or pricing data unless the owner, operator, or agent in charge of the controlled premises consents in writing.

(b) Issuance and execution of administrative inspection warrants shall be as follows:

(1) A judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable cause, may issue warrants for the purpose of conducting administrative inspections authorized by this chapter or rules hereunder, and seizures of property appropriate to the inspections. For purposes of the issuance of administrative inspection warrants, probable cause exists upon showing a valid public interest in the effective enforcement of this chapter or rules hereunder, sufficient to justify administrative inspection of the area, premises, building, or conveyance in the circumstances specified in the application for the warrant.

(2) A warrant shall issue only upon an affidavit of a designated officer or employee having knowledge of the facts alleged, sworn to before the judge and establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. If the judge is satisfied that grounds for the issuance of the warrant exist or that there is probable cause to believe they exist, a warrant shall be issued identifying the area, premises, building, or conveyance to be inspected, the purpose of the inspection, and, if appropriate, the type of property to be inspected, if any. The warrant shall:

(A) State the grounds for its issuance and the name of each person whose affidavit has been taken in support thereof;

(B) Be directed to a person authorized and designated by the Mayor to execute it;

(C) Command the person to whom it is directed to inspect the area, premises, building, or conveyance identified for the purpose specified and, if appropriate, direct the seizure of the property specified;

(D) Identify the item or types of property to be seized, if any; and

(E) Direct that it be served during normal business hours and designate the judge to whom it shall be returned.

(3) A warrant issued pursuant to this section must be executed and returned within 10 days of its date unless, upon a showing of a need for additional time, the Court orders otherwise. If property is seized pursuant to a warrant, a copy shall be given to the person from whom or from whose premises the property is taken, together with a receipt for the property taken. The return of the warrant shall be made promptly, accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the person executing the warrant and of the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if present, or in the presence of at least one person other than the person executing the warrant. A copy of the inventory shall be delivered to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for the warrant.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 505, 28 DCR 3081; June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-284, § 10(d), 46 DCR 1328.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-555.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 10(d) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization and Street Solicitation for Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-428, August 6, 1998, 45 DCR 5884), § 10(d) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-506, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 8139), and § 10(d) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-13, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2333).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 10(d) of Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-282, May 28, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 5148).


§ 48–905.06. Chemist reports.

In a proceeding for a violation of this chapter, the official report of chain of custody and of analysis of a controlled substance performed by a chemist charged with an official duty to perform such analysis, when attested to by that chemist and by the officer having legal custody of the report and accompanied by a certificate under seal that the officer has legal custody, shall be admissible in evidence as evidence of the facts stated therein and the results of that analysis. A copy of the certificate must be furnished upon demand by the defendant or his or her attorney in accordance with the rules of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or, if no demand is made, no later than 5 days prior to trial. In the event that the defendant or his or her attorney subpoenas the chemist for examination, the subpoena shall be without fee or cost and the examination shall be as on cross-examination.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 506, 28 DCR 3081.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-556.


§ 48–905.07. Mayoral subpoenas.

(a) In any investigation relating to the Mayor’s functions under this subchapter with respect to controlled substances, the Mayor may subpoena witnesses, compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and require the production of any records (including books, papers, documents, and other tangible things which constitute or contain evidence) which the Mayor finds relevant or material to the investigation. The attendance of witnesses and the production of records may be required from any place in the District of Columbia. Witnesses summoned under this section shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid witnesses in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(b) A subpoena issued under this section may be served by any person designated in the subpoena to serve it. Service upon a natural person may be made by personal delivery of the subpoena to that person. Service may be made upon a domestic or foreign corporation or upon a partnership or other unincorporated association which is subject to suit under a common name, by delivering the subpoena to an officer, to a managing or general agent, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process. The affidavit of the person serving the subpoena entered on a true copy thereof by the person serving it shall be proof of service.

(c) In the case of contumacy by or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, the Mayor may invoke the aid of any District of Columbia court within the jurisdiction of which the investigation is carried on or of which the subpoenaed person is an inhabitant, or in which the subpoenaed person carries on business or may be found, to compel compliance with the subpoena. The court may issue an order requiring the subpoenaed person to appear before the Mayor to produce records, if so ordered, or to give testimony touching the matter under investigation. Any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.


(Aug. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 4-29, § 507, 28 DCR 3081; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 41, 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-557.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 48-905.05.