Legal recreational sales could be coming to the nation’s capital under a plan announced by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Wednesday.
District of Columbia voters approved a legal cannabis ballot measure in 2014 that allows low-level possession and home cultivation. But, because of a spending bill rider pushed by the Republican Congress, the city is not allowed to use any funds to legalize and regulate the sales of marijuana. As a result, an unregulated gray market of cannabis distribution has cropped up in the city.
But now that Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Bowser is announcing that she will submit a full marijuana legalization bill to the District of Columbia Council early in 2019.
“We will prepare a tax and regulate scheme to present to the Council at the beginning of the year,” she said in a press conference.
“We have an untenable situation in the District that I believe makes us unsafe,” Bowser argued, referring to the current noncommercial form of legalization that exists in the city. “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 did not give specifics of the legal cannabis sales legislation she plans to introduce.
In a press release, Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents D.C. in Congress, said that she will “continue to fight” to remove the marijuana rider and other roadblocks to the city’s autonomy that Republicans in Congress have erected.
The city currently has a handful of medical cannabis dispensaries from which registered patients can buy marijuana.
See the video of Bowser’s marijuana remarks, about 11 minutes into the clip below:
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Washington, D.C. Mayor Plans Legal Marijuana Sales As Congress Shifts
The voters of Washington D.C. approved the marijuana legalization amendment, Initiative 71, with overwhelming support last election day. Then Congress interfered by attaching a rider to the federal spending bill which disallows the use of federal funds or local fees to establish a regulatory system for cannabis retailers and cultivators within the District. Essentially, Congress has permitted decriminalization, but has blocked the creation of a legal retail market.
The new Mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd that she plans to defend the voters of her District, and will explore all options in doing so. When asked if she plans to challenge Congress on the issue of blocking full implementation of Initiative 71, Mayor Bowser said,
“We want to respect the will of the D.C. voters, and we think that initiative 71 was self-enacting. … We want to work with our Congress and we want the will of the residents of D.C. to be enforced.”
When Todd repeated the question, “Are you going to sue Congress over this?” Mayor Bowser responded,
“We are going to explore every option to get our law enforced, so that the chief [of police] can also be very clear with the officers of what is legal in the District and what is not.”
Mayor Bowser was vague about her exact plan of action, but she made it clear that she plans to stand up for the voters of Washington D.C.. She also discussed her vision for Washington D.C. to establish full democracy and statehood separate from the Federal Government. The District was originally established to serve as the seat of the Federal Government, but now many people with voting rights live within the District who have absolutely nothing to do with government operations. It seems to be moving away from what it once was, and Mayor Bowser seems to have a plan for change.
Initiative 71, as it stands currently in the District, allows adults aged twenty-one years or older may possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use. Of-age adults may also cultivate up to six cannabis plants in a personal residence with three or fewer of those plants being mature. Transferring up to one ounce of marijuana, without payment, between adults is also legal. As is, possessing and selling paraphernalia for growing, using or processing cannabis.
photo credit: Washingtonian