D.C. Moves Forward With Marijuana Legalization Initiative

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) submitted the District of Columbia’s new marijuana legalization initiative to Congress Tuesday, ignoring an effort by congressional Republicans to block the measure.

Alana Intrieri, legislative counsel to Mendelson, confirmed to The Huffington Post in an email Tuesday that Initiative 71 has been transmitted to Congress, beginning a mandatory 30-day congressional review process.

In November, 70 percent of D.C. voters approved the initiative, which would legalize up to two ounces of cannabis for personal use and up to six marijuana plants for home cultivation while still banning sales.

Though the city is mostly autonomous, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress final say over the District’s laws. If Congress and President Barack Obama do not decide to block the measure, the new law could go into effect as early as March.

However, a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill that was signed by Obama in December was flooded with hundreds of additional provisions known as “riders.” One of these, introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) was an anti-pot measure forbidding D.C. from using any funding to enact an initiative relaxing penalties for drugs that are illegal under federal law.

– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.