DC Votes to Legalize Pot but Republican Congress can Kill the Plans
By Glynn Cosker
Editor, In Homeland Security
Voters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday approved Initiative 71, a ballot measure calling for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. In any state in the union, this would signify the end of the story. Not so in the District, where the measure will almost certainly go to Capitol Hill for congressional review. In fact, the federal government can kill any new D.C. law it doesn’t like.
The Washington Post reports that at least one conservative Republican U.S. Representative quickly stated his opposition to the measure, and others will likely echo the same sentiment in the coming months.
However, one high-profile Republican offered solace to anyone hoping to light up a joint in 2015. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told reporters Tuesday: “I haven’t really taken a stand on [Initiative 71], but I’m against the federal government telling them they can’t.”
Newly-elected Democratic D.C. mayor, Muriel Bowser, may also put a wrench in the works as she stated that the new law won’t take effect on her watch until marijuana is regulated “similar to how we tax and regulate alcohol.” That stand is problematic in that anybody brewing alcohol in their D.C. home is currently not regulated.
President Obama won’t be absent in the brewing debate over pot near his own backyard. Congress will likely attached a veto-proof omnibus bill to anything the president might look at regarding Initiative 71, which runs the risk of alienating some of his base.
Alaska and Oregon also each voted to legalize pot in Tuesday’s midterm election, joining Colorado and Washington State which adopted legal recreational use of the drug in 2012. The District’s initiative would allow for anybody present in the nation’s capital to hold up to 2 ounces of marijuana for personal use and the ability to grow a maximum of three plants.
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