washington dc marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

DC Councilmembers File Bill To Tax And Regulate Marijuana

washington dc marijuanaBy Phillip Smith

In a pointed message to the Congress, DC councilmembers last week introduced a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana sales in the nation’s capital. The move comes despite passage of a federal spending bill that included an amendment barring the District from spending local or federal funds to implement such a law.

Last November, District voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but not the regulated sale and taxation of it. That’s because DC law forbids voter initiatives from addressing tax issues.

The city council, which already approved decriminalization last year, has been prepared all along to consider a taxation and regulation bill to turn Initiative 71 into full-blown legalization. And despite the move by some Republicans in Congress to try to erase November’s District election results, the council is undeterred.

Councilmember David Grosso and three colleagues have introduced the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015 (B21-0023), which would create a framework for a legal marijuana industry, complete with licensed cultivators, product manufacturers, retail stores, and testing labs.

An earlier version of the bill, the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013, got as far as a public hearing in October, before the election. But it has now been superseded in part by Initiative 71 and by the new bill.

With Republicans now in control of both houses of Congress, efforts to quash the District’s efforts to end pot prohibition are bound to continue — even though even some Republicans are now leery of blocking the democratic expression of the will of District voters. But like the District’s new mayor, Muriel Bowser, who is vowing to push ahead with Initiative 71, the DC council appears ready to take the fight wherever it leads.

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  • The Republicans would really rather not make this an issue:

    DC Pot

    OTOH pot stores in DC would be a real poke in the eye for them. Their trouble is their roughly 49 member libertarian contingent who will stymie their efforts and Democrats who would love to use this issue in the 2016 campaign.

    The Republicans do have a secret weapon. TEA Party Senator Rand Paul who is more anti-Prohibition than any other candidate in the Presidential race so far. R or D.

    Interesting times.

  • AAMCO

    best license setup to grow,process(making oils/food), store fronts and testing, The system pays for it’s self to start up and taxes carry it all the way, don’t need a budget from the feds. Either way good on them and can’t wait cause I go to DC every year.

  • Ron

    I didn’t know DC law forbids a voter initiative from dealing with tax issues. I had thought the lack of a sales component of the initiative a shortcoming, but now I understand why it was done that way. Go DC!!!!

  • Acidsex

    Come on now. I am so tired of seeing articles talking about how its the Republicans that are always stifling progress. It just isn’t true. Of course there are some that do at every step but there are Democrats that do the same thing. I mean just look at Patrick Kennedy and you will see how those in the Democrat party have failed their constituents in the past.

    The traditional Republican is a dying breed and being replaced with liberty loving Republicans with Libertarian principles. But let’s not forget no matter how much shit the Republicans can try to pull, there is one Democrat who can trump it all by simply removing it from scheduled status and that is Obama. And what has he actually done during his six years to make sure the will of the people is actually honored?

    • David

      An executive order to reschedule cannabis, while a tempting short-term solution can eventually be rescinded, only making matter’s worse. The key is getting enough people out in 2016 to vote and stop allowing 36% of an angry right-wing minority from setting the nations social agenda. Elections do have consequences.

      • Acidsex

        I can agree partially but what it does it allow those citizens of states that do not offer voter initiatives to participate thus demonstrating proof that legal usage of marijuana will lead to the sky falling and increased crime. That is what people fail to realize. Yeah, it’s great for Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and D.C. In those states, voters can bring forth an initiative that allows the voters to demonstrate their will. But there are many states that do not allow voters to bring forth such initiatives and only permit their citizens to vote on matters that the legislative bodies deem appropriate.

        Obama could have descheduled cannabis at the start of his second term and had he done so, we would have had 2 years of usage and I suspect similar results to Colorado and their success nationwide. It would be political suicide for the next President to come in and reverse course especially given that it would have been proven the sky had not fallen in the previous four year period.

        Elections absolutely do have consequences but let’s not act like either party gives a fuck all about the people and what the people want. The people did not want to disaster that is Obamacare. Yet Democrats pushed it through and said elections have consequences. Even in the recent election, the Democrats were trounced because many of their voters no longer buy in to the Democrat political bullshit and stayed home from the polls. Elections have consequences then but apparently to Obama he cared more about the people who didn’t vote (Democrats) than he did with the people who did vote to stop his radical agenda.

        But to constantly focus on the political parties does nothing to reform cannabis law. Because if you read the majority of the comments here on this site, you would think only Democrats use cannabis and support its rights and every Republican is against it when it simply isn’t the case. Cannabis reform is a citizen issue, not a political part issue. The rights of all people to use cannabis is more important than political affiliation.

        But when we make blanket statements claiming one side is against something no matter what, you do a great disservice to people who may belong to that group yet support your cause. If you think cannabis reform will ever happen nationwide simply on the Democratic vote, think again. It will not happen without the votes of the Republican and Libertarian. One sure way to never garner that support is to constantly place blame on those people. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to vote for an opposition that constantly blames me for everything.

        • David

          I support any person that supports sane cannabis policy. I support the Democrat party Platform. I reject the Republican Platform. I make no apologies for this. Twenty million more Democrat’s cast votes than did Republican’s for control of the US Senate. Who’s running the Senate today? Plus, Democrat’s would have easily taken over the US House had the Republican party not Gerry-mandered (rigged) national US House Districts following the 2010 US Census. This occurred despite Democrat voter turn-out being the lowest in 40 years. You don’t agree that certain states deny voter’s the use of citizen initiatives to change state law. I don’t agree with Article-1, Section-3 of the US Constitution. I’d like to see a Constitutional Amendment that reflects the will of the people, rather than reflecting underpopulated geography. American cannabis reform would move much faster if the Republican party would have stop gaming the political system. We essentially want the same thing: The will of the people fully recognized. Thanks.

      • Acidsex

        I replied at great length to you but like I have seen over and again in the past, my post falls into moderation and then eventually gets deleted. Kinda makes me wonder why I bother showing my support to this site any more.

        • David

          I feel your pain.

      • Denny

        Not exactly.
        Rescheduling via executive order will allow a giant step forward with regard to giving the general public an actual opportunity to see how this medication helps those with illnesses and disorders not effectively or comfortably treated/controlled with prescription medications.
        That said, I wouldn’t hold my breath given his lack of interest in coming through on his numerous promises to reschedule it.

        • David

          Actually, the President never promised to reschedule cannabis. It’s a shame that the most progressive cannabis President to date gets pummeled for something he never actually said. He has made it clear via the Justice Dept. that Cannabis policy is to be determined at the state/ local level. I’m a glass half full kind of guy. Even if legalization is not moving as fast as some would like, It’s still progress. Personally, I’d have preferred every US state have a medical marijuana program in place before recreational legalization occurred. Some states jumped the shark for tax revenue, not social policy. Such is life. Thanks.

    • Freedom loving, limited government fiscal Conservatives like myself are standing up and no longer allowing social Conservatives to bully them! Marijuana prohibition is despicable ignorant government waste and it’s days are numbered!