Democratic Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington, D.C. has announced that she intends to introduce legislation next year that would legalize the sale of recreational cannabis in the nation’s capital. Bowser, who was re-elected to her position on Tuesday, sees the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections as an opportunity to implement a pot legalization measure already passed by voters.
Pot Already Legal In DC
In 2014, District voters approved a ballot measure that legalized the possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana. But Republicans in the House of Representatives have used their power over the District’s budget to prevent the local government from regulating and taxing cannabis to allow recreational sales. Under provisions of what is known as a ‘budget rider,” the city is prohibited from spending money on such activities. Medical marijuana was legalized in D.C. in 1998, but with congressional interference, the first cannabis dispensary did not open until 2013. Underground pop-up markets often provide a grey market source of pot in the city.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who will chair the committee overseeing District matters, have said they will oppose the rider in budget negotiations next year. With Democrats soon to be in control of the House, Bowser said on Wednesday that the time for change has come.
“We have an untenable situation in the District,” Bowser said. “As long as we have the ability to possess marijuana, which is our law, we also need the ability to procure marijuana legally, which we don’t have now.”
The mayor added that she will soon be submitting a cannabis legalization measure for consideration.
“We will prepare a tax-and-regulate scheme to present to the council at the beginning of the next year,” said Bowser.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the nonvoting District representative in the House, said any restrictions on marijuana would have to come from the upper chamber of Congress.
“The Senate doesn’t seem to care much,” said Holmes. “Let’s see how much they much they care now.”
Is Now Too Soon?
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) has said the current situation with cannabis in Washington, D.C. is an “impossible paradox” and is in favor of regulated sales of recreational marijuana. But he believes that the current rider still in effect may prevent the council from taking any action on the matter.
“If mayor sent down the bill, the first thing I would have to do is talk to my lawyers about whether and how we can proceed,” said Mendelson. “Am I supportive of moving forward with regulating? Yes, I am. It’s a question of how soon.”
City Council member David Grosso has already introduced an ordinance to license retail cannabis shops. He believes that the city should move forward now despite the rider still in place.
“I believe we should act as if Congress isn’t there and suffer the consequences, whatever they might be,” Grosso said.
Grosso also said that the full legalization of pot is the only way to avoid the racial injustice fostered by prohibition.
“We’ve seen a lot of arrests and criminal charges brought against people in the city and there are huge disparities between white and black people in those numbers,” Grosso said. “To eliminate those we have to completely regulate marijuana.”
10 Podcasts to Get Stoned To
Lawmakers Push to Send More of Colorado’s Weed Revenues to Kindergarteners
Maine Unveils Draft of Recreational Marijuana Regulatory Structure
New Hampshire Senate Considering Recreational Cannabis Legalization Bill
Michigan Commission Recommends No Limit on THC in Drivers’ Bodies
Back To Black: Why Consumers Are Staying Loyal To The Illicit Cannabis Market
The High Times 100 of 2018
Seth Rogen Launches Cannabis Company “Houseplant”
Foods7 days ago
Carl’s Jr. to Launch CBD-Infused Burger in Denver Location This 420
Entertainment5 days ago
The Animated History of 420: Our Video of the Week
News6 days ago
Cheech and Chong to Help Tribal Cannabis Shop Celebrate Grand Opening
News5 days ago
Coast Guard Unloads 7 Tons of Seized Pot in Florida
Culture7 days ago
The High Priestess: Celebrating 4/20 and the Pink Moon
Culture5 days ago
This 420, We Need To Be Listening To Green Corridos
News7 days ago
North Carolina Democrats File Bill to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana
News7 days ago
Canadian Officials Announce Cannabis is Permitted at Yukon Camping Sites