House Republican Vows to Upend D.C. Ballot Measure Legalizing Marijuana

At least one House Republican says he will do everything he can to block the measure District voters passed Tuesday to legalize possession of marijuana in the nation’s capital.

Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican who represents neighboring Maryland, said federal drug laws that still consider marijuana possession a crime punishable by up to a year in jail should be enforced in the federal district. A doctor by training, Harris also blasted the vote in favor of legalization as detrimental to adolescents.

“Actions by those in D.C. will result in higher drug use among teens,” Harris said in a written statement to The Washington Post, after losing his voice this week campaigning for his own reelection. “I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action, so that drug use among teens does not increase.”

Under a voter-proposed measure, known as Initiative 71, residents and visitors to the nation’s capital age 21 and older will be allowed to legally possess as much as two ounces of marijuana and to grow up to three marijuana plants at home.

D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel E. Bowser said before Election Day that she would vote for the measure and would see to its implementation. Like a majority of the D.C. Council, Bowser has also said that if marijuana became legal, the District must take the next step of crafting a measure establishing a system to sell and tax the drug in the District.

The initiative, as well as whatever regulatory system the District approves for sale and taxation of marijuana next year, will have to pass a 60-day congressional review period. The measures will become law unless Congress vetoes them and the president agrees that the local measures should be halted.

– Read the entire article at The Washington Post.