Congress Is Trying To Block Washington D.C.’s Voter-Approved Marijuana Legalization

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by West Coast Leaf News Service

on December 9, 2014

Update from the editor: As of Dec. 11 Republicans in Congress are continuing their effort to block the implementation of voter-approved Initiative 71, which would legalize marijuana in Washington D.C. They plan on using a rider included on a federal spending bill to do so. If their efforts succeed, it will prevent the City of D.C. from putting their citywide cannabis regulations into place, but it can not overturn the portion of the voter initiative that removes all criminal penalties for marijuana. Rick Doblin, president and founder of the Multidiciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), recently sent out a call to voters everywhere to call their Congressional representatives and ask them not to overturn the will of voters to have a legal, regulated, adult-use cannabis industry in Washington D.C.

“We’re making incredible progress,” he wrote. “Don’t let federal authorities overturn voter-approved policies for the legitimate use of marijuana.”

You can use this tool to find your member of Congress and urge them to protect marijuana legalization in Washington, D.C.]

The following first appeared on The Leaf Online, and was published on Reset on Dec. 9: 

The Washington Post is reporting that Congressional efforts may undermine D.C. home rule and block Initiative 71, despite 70% of District voters casting ballots in favor of the new law. If Congress approves the initiative, adults in D.C. would legally be able to cultivate and possess marijuana. But some Congress members, realizing their colleagues wouldn’t support blocking the initiative directly — undermining home rule and the will of a majority of Americans — have instead included language blocking the measure in the spending bill, which can limit the federal funds D.C. receives.

“Those who fight sensible marijuana reform risk losing a tremendous amount of political support, even within their own party,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “But those who encourage these new policy changes that are already being demanded by a majority of Americans, will be vindicated as pioneers of intelligent public safety improvements. If democracy still matters to our leaders, they have to listen to the voters.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is concerned that blocking marijuana legalization will continue to promote a public safety nightmare of increased gang violence, police militarization and the fueling of dangerous underground markets. Decriminalization does not go far enough because marijuana is still not regulated by any measure of quality of safety standards and drug dealers don’t ask for IDs, making the drug far more dangerous and easier for children to obtain.