LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — This week could go down in D.C. history (and smoke, maybe) if the marijuana legalization bill that District residents passed in November also passes it’s Congressional review period.
The DC Cannabis Campaign says the review period will end Feb. 26.
Initiative 71, which slightly more than 64 percent of city voters were in favor of, would allow Washingtonians to possess up to two ounces of pot for their own use and grow no more than six cannabis plants in their home with three or fewer being mature and flowering at one time. It would also allow people to give (not sell) up to an ounce of marijuana to another adult.
The new laws would not apply to federal property, however.
Rather than trying to vote down the initiative — which Congress has the power to do since it has ultimate authority over the District — opponents placed language in a $1.1 trillion spending bill in December that would prevent the city from spending any money whatsoever to enact it.
In its own words, the bill would have prohibited “both federal and local funds from being used to implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District.”
A newer budget proposal from President Barack Obama is tweaked slightly, and seemingly would give the District freedom use at least its own local funds to implement the law, CBS News reports.
The D.C. Council has been preparing to set up a local marijuana marketplace that would regulate and tax pot through the same body that regulates alcohol sales. By some estimates, the marketplace could create a $130 million per year industry in D.C.
With Republicans in control of Congress, it’s unlikely that Obama’s budget will be passed. But D.C.’s non-voting Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton maintains that Initiative 71 will be the law of the land once the Congressional review is over, despite what language is used in the federal budget.
“D.C. can implement Initiative 71 after the expiration of the congressional review period unless a resolution of disapproval overturning it is enacted during that period or other legislation is enacted before, during or after that period that blocks or overturns it,” she says on her official website.
“Initiative 71 was enacted when it was approved by voters in November 2014,” she goes on to say. “Many of the Omnibus’ negotiators believe D.C. can implement the initiative, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey and House Appropriations D.C. Subcommittee Ranking Member Jose Serrano.”
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