Residents of the District of Columbia voted to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2014 with majority support (nearly 65% voter support). Yet, because the District is not a state, a Congressional budget rider has blocked it from using its own money to tax and regulate marijuana sales. Congress and the Department of Justice have allowed states like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and California, among others, to exercise their right to set policy; the District of Columbia should be allowed to use local taxpayers’ funds to support local needs as well.
Under these conditions, D.C. cannot regulate marijuana and despite D.C. voters making their voices clear, there is currently no legal access for adult use in the District. As such, D.C. has been left with a complicated grey market despite the need and want of the District leadership and residents alike to establish a regulatory model. Such a model would free up law enforcement resources to focus on reducing violent crime. It would also allow legitimate entrepreneurs to start businesses, create jobs and spur economic development in the District.
Congress must amend the current rider (section 809(b) of Title VIII) by striking language that limits D.C.’s local authority on regulating marijuana. Since D.C. residents successfully voted to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2014, Congress has ignored this vote and included an appropriations rider to prohibit D.C. from using funds to create a regulatory system for marijuana. It is critical that Congress support D.C.’s right to home rule and the ability to spend local tax dollars as the District deems fit, especially in regard to the regulation and taxation of marijuana.
Join DPA and our partner organizations in telling Congress to get their hands off of D.C. and allow the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser to deliver on the promises of equity and justice for those disproportionately impacted by racially-biased enforcement of marijuana laws.
We are asking supporters to tweet at the elected officials below and tell them to amend the current rider to remove language that limits D.C.’s local authority on regulating marijuana