DC would remain banned from legalizing marijuana sales under federal budget

Washington, DC would remain banned from legalizing the sale of marijuana under a congressional spending plan released Wednesday.

Why is this important: The news is a blow to city leaders who had hoped a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill would remove a federal budget rule that has prevented the city from legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis since 2015.

Rollback: District voters approved a ballot measure to legalize marijuana use in late 2014, but local leaders were unable to implement a tax and vending industry due to a budget rider. introduced by Republican Representative Andy Harris of Maryland.

  • Efforts to remove the biker have so far failed. The district has limited domestic rule that allows Congress to interfere in its local laws.

What they say : “Our failure to regulate the sale and distribution of cannabis in the district encourages the existence and expansion of so-called illegal pop-ups where marijuana is sold illegally,” council chairman Phil Mendelson said in a statement. a statement.

  • DC’s failure to regulate marijuana sales has long been a rallying cry for DC state activists. Josh Burch, who founded Neighbors United for DC Statehood, wrote in an email to Axios that DC state supporters on Capitol Hill “don’t want to fight” for local self-governance.
  • “We will continue to focus on making DC the 51st state, for only statehood frees us from the wickedness of our adversaries and the weaknesses of our friends,” he wrote.

The other side: Operators of marijuana pop-up shops, which typically sell products such as art or juice and “gift” marijuana to customers for free, defend their industry and believe it can serve as the basis for a future legal market selling pots in the nation’s capital.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

Sallie R. Loera