As of today, residents and visitors of the District of Columbia are now legally permitted to get as stoned as a statue found on the National Mall. However, backlash from Congress has threatened to reverse legalization and put the city’s mayor in jail.
Initiative 71, which was proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and calls for the legalization and possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in the nation’s capital, was approved by a landslide 70 percent of D.C. voters back in November. The bill allows anyone old enough to drink a beer to smoke marijuana (in private), carry it, grow it, and share it — but not sell it.
The reason weed can’t be sold in the city — and the reason we can’t walk into a Pots “R” Us, buy a sack, and get blazed before heading to one of D.C.’s many museums to look at crazy paintings and sculptures and shit — is because opponents in Congress responded to the passing of Initiative 71 by tacking a small provision in a massive federal spending bill in December, according to the Cannabis Business Times.
“The provision, or ‘rider,’ blocks the District from using taxpayer dollars to enact marijuana reforms.”
Those sneaky, weed-hating bastards. The provision also puts Mayor Bowser’s ass on the line, who is now in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits the D.C. government from spending money Congress has not appropriated.
A leading opponent of Bowser is Representative Jason Chaffetz, who the other kids in the neighborhood never invited to play with them.
From the Washington Post:
In an interview with The Washington Post, Chaffetz went further. He said that if Bowser and city officials are “under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We’re not playing a little game here.”
It’s a little fucked up that Mayor Bowser and her dream of legally roasting a bone within sight of the Washington Monument are now in jeopardy because of a provision passed a month after her bill. Props to her for not backing down and going through with the plan anyway.
No one knows how the whole thing will play out for Bowser or for the city, but the Washington Post has already speculated that D.C. will become the “Wild West of marijuana,” where growers will push the questionable legal limits of what they can sell. (Seeds, anyone?)
Luckily, Bowser and her bill have plenty of firepower on their side of the fight, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton perhaps being the most vocal supporter.
From New York Magazine:
“‘If the Republican Congress … wants to pick a fight with the District over our local marijuana reform law,’ Norton said, ‘a fight is what they will get.’”
Stick it to the man, Delegate Norton..
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