DC to Move Forward with Marijuana Legalization Despite Congressional Ban

DC leaders and supportive Democrats in Congress have said the major $1.1 trillion spending bill finally approved by Congress on Saturday contains a loophole that will allow the city’s efforts at legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana to continue, but it bars any future attempts at creating a regulatory sales structure in the city.

The part of the spending bill that targeted marijuana legalization in DC stated that funding cannot be used to “enact” – not to “enact or carry out” – laws regarding reduction of drug-possession penalties in the District.

Observers and DC leaders have claimed that Initiative 71 – the ballot measure that 70 percent of District of Columbia voters approved last month that legalized possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana for personal use while still outlawing retail sales – was “enacted” on Nov. 4, the day it was passed.

Therefore, the city is now “carrying out” the law, an aspect of the process intentionally left out of the federal spending bill’s language as to allow the city to move forward.

“People who were part of the negotiations over the federal spending bill and this amendment in particular say the language was modified several times to reach a compromise,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

– Read the entire article at Russia Times.