Legalizing medical marijuana in Washington D.C. has proven to be more difficult than initially expected. Even with Initiative 71 passing with over 60% popular vote, Congress isn’t keen on letting it move forward. Proponents of the bill say it is valid because it was enacted long before Congress even got involved.
The congressional spending bill attempting to block the legalization is pretty tricky. The premise of the deal is to prevent the DC City Council from transmitting the voter approved initiative to Congress for final approval (as required by federal law), because it would take all the council’s time and resources to accomplish.
Karl Racine, DC’s newly elected attorney general argues voters already enacted Initiative 71 in November. In plain english, Racine is saying the bill already passed and doesn’t need any 30 day congressional review for the bill to move forward.
Racine argues the congressional spending bill only blocks future actions in DC, like the legalization of retail sales, but not Initiative 71, which only legalized gifting, possessing, and growing marijuana.
The Attorney General has a pretty powerful ally in this fight, Congresswoman Eleanor Norton – DC’s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives has been steadfast in her support for pushing the initiative through.
“We think Initiative 71 was basically self-enacted, just as the congresswoman does,” Racine stated.
“And we think there’s good support for that position, and we’re going to support that position.”