It has been almost 5 years since residents of Washington, D.C., voted on Initiative 71, successfully legalizing low-level hashish possession and residential rising of the plant. However, leisure gross sales stay stunted within the nation’s capital.
The core a part of the issue? D.C. was prohibited from utilizing native tax dollars to set up a tax-and-regulate scheme by Congress. Under Republican management, the legislative physique hooked up a provision in federal budgets annually since 2014 that’s left D.C. in limbo when it comes to leisure marijuana gross sales.
One D.C. lawmaker, nevertheless, is decided to change that. With Democrats now within the majority within the House of Representatives, the place the rider on federal budgets originates, D.C. At-Large Councilmember David Grosso sees a chance to get the District out of this limbo as soon as and for all.
“This status quo has led to a confusing and problematic state of affairs with residents and businesses unclear on what is legal, what is not, and wondering how it can be that it is legal to possess marijuana but not to buy or sell it,” Grosso, who’s an Independent, stated in a press launch. “We need to fix this. The new reality on Capitol Hill means that chances of D.C. legalizing marijuana sales are greater than ever.”
Grosso credit the passage of Initiative 71 with holding District residents away from “needless involvement in the judicial system.”
“Since D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 to decriminalize recreational cannabis, we have seen marijuana-related arrests plummet, representing thousands of District residents who were spared needless involvement in the judicial system,” Grosso stated. “The logical next step, to continue to reduce arrests and to bring marijuana totally out of the shadows, is to set up a strong tax and regulatory system.”
Grosso launched a type of his hashish gross sales laws in each council interval since 2013. In the newest model of the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act, he included new provisions aimed toward rectifying the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs.
“The War on Drugs was a failure — it was increasing our mass incarceration problem and not helping with our drug dependency problem,” he stated. “Further, the data also has consistently shown that the War on Drugs has been racist in its implementation. It’s a racial justice issue. It’s not enough that we change these policies, we also have to proactively heal the communities most negatively impacted.”
At-Large Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Robert White, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, signed on as co-introducers of the laws.