washington dc marijuana decriminalization
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Anti-DC Marijuana Legalization Advocates Violated Campaign Finance Laws

washington dc marijuana decriminalizationMarijuana opponents are a crafty, shifty bunch. They will do just about whatever it takes to keep marijuana prohibition in place, even if that means sometimes bending or even breaking the rules. That appears to be the case in Washington D.C., where it is being alleged that marijuana opponents violated campaign finance laws. In August leading up to Election Day, a group called ‘TIE D.C.’, formally launched a campaign to oppose the marijuana legalization initiative in D.C. (Initiative 71). However, the campaign didn’t play by the rules according to officials. Per the DCist:

According to documents from the Office of Campaign Finance obtained by DCist, TIE. D.C. was in violation of several campaign finance laws, including failure to officially register as a political committee, failure to file a financial report, and failure to include proper language on its campaign literature.

In response to the allegations against TIE D.C., head William Jones testified in a recent hearing with the OCF that “TIE D.C. was nothing more than a blog that he started to inform the public about the proposed initiative by voting against it.” Jones also stated that he was the chairperson for the “No On 71” initiative, which he argued was the political committee he started to officially campaign against marijuana legalization.

But on September 17, 2014, TIE D.C. officially launched what was perceived to be a bona fide campaign. They even held a press conference outside of the Bible Way Church to announce their campaign. “T.I.E. D.C. is committed to protecting these communities and the rest of the city from the consequences of legalizing a third recreational drug,” Jones said at the presser in September.

According to the OCF’s allegations, TIE D.C. “may have begun as a blog, but it eventually became a full scale political movement, which was required to register with the OCF,” but it never did. Moreover, the OCF says that TIE D.C. never filed a receipt and expenditure report, which any organization or committee raising funds for campaigning are supposed to do.

The Office of Campaign Finance has recommended a $2,000 fine for the violations, which is a slap on the wrist in the world of politics. It will likely not dissuade others from trying the same tactic. However, it’s still significant to get the violation on record because it discredits the marijuana opponents, and can be something that can be pointed to in future elections where marijuana opponents will no doubt be active.

  • Julie Westbrook

    Glad to hear they got caught, but I think the penalty leaves much to be desired. They should be disbanded as well and be made to return ALL money received. I’m not surprised they lied about it. They’ve been dishonest about marijuana from the get go.

  • Silly Rabbit

    Got caught and …. AND …. It was a failed attempt anyways, spent time and money for nothing but ya this is the killer here ….

    On record and more money spent / lost ….. Serves them right, silly rabbits!

  • steven

    If it becomes legal for recreational use in DC that means the president can get high to creatively screw up and be able to explain it so stoners can understand and accept it. When it does become legal in dcsince it is not a state! Make it legal nationwide.

  • Rusty Bucket

    Anyone who supports cannabis laws support 80 years of lies. Why would anyone think these people are above any wrong doing?

  • Jetdoc

    And they call US “stoners”? “NON stoners”, you just CAN’T trust em!

  • Now I am no prohibitionist but I would not want to see this guy raked over the coals over this. Maybe $2000 is a slap on the wrist in the world of politics but it may be a much more punishing blow in the world of William Jones. This organization, which is the closest thing to opposition that Initiative 71 ever faced, was basically just some well-intentioned but misinformed guy with a blog and a handful of supporters. Was their viewpoint wrong-headed? Yes! Should they be fined for disseminating it? Hell no! It does democracy no good to stifle the people.

    As advocates for freedom we should take the right to free speech very seriously. Besides, this guy’s position was trounced at the polls. Residents of the District resoundingly voted in favor of legalizing cannabis. We should avoid the temptation to gloat over what is basically his failure to file some paperwork. It could be one of our guys next time.

    Cheers,
    Dusty
    http://wp.me/p5xaE5-uO

    • been there

      I’d like him to spend at least half the amount of time in prison as Jeff Mizanskey. SEND A MESSAGE.

  • Sinclair

    Of course they did. This should not surprise any one.