washington dc decriminalization marijuana possession
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

DC Mayor – Legal Marijuana Sales May Come Sooner Rather Than Later

washington dc decriminalization marijuana possessionI’m still trying to fit my head around the fact that the capital of the United States legalized marijuana. It’s the most significant legalization victory in my opinion, due to the fact that it’s the capital. Don’t get me wrong, all four states that legalized marijuana are very significant too, but D.C. is on another level. It strikes right at the heart of federal marijuana prohibition. While the initiative that passed on Election Day 2014 doesn’t address marijuana sales because that has a separate process that needs to be followed, it hasn’t stopped D.C.’s mayor elect from suggesting that recreational sales will occur soon. Per Wamu.Org:

Speaking at her first press conference after defeating D.C. Council member David Catania in the city’s general election, Bowser said that crafting a system for the legal sale of marijuana will be among the issues her transition team will discuss in the coming weeks.

“We’ll turn our attention to it, look at the experiences of other states to make sure we’re not making mistakes that have already been made, and put a system in place,” she said. “I see no reason why we wouldn’t follow a regime similar to how we regulate and tax alcohol.”

The ballot initiative approved on Tuesday allows residents over the age of 21 to possess marijuana, grow six plants in their homes and transfer up to one ounce to another person without renumeration. It does not allow for marijuana to be sold, though the D.C. Council is considering a bill that would legalize and tax sales of the drug. One D.C. official estimated that the legal market for marijuana could be worth $130 million per year.

At the press conference, Bowser hinted that she wanted to see a tax-and-regulate bill pass quickly. Responding to a question from an Associated Press reporter on whether she’d want to see Initiative 71 take effect without a concurrent system for retail sales of marijuana, Bowser simply said “no.”

All eyes will be on D.C. to see when and how they implement the new law. There are already members of Congress that are expressing desires to block the law from becoming a reality. However, with such a resounding victory with so many residents approving the law, I don’t see how any federal politician can stop it from being implemented. D.C. residents clearly want marijuana to be legal, and to possess up to two ounces and cultivate up to six plants. I would also argue they want sales to be legal too, although that wasn’t a provision of the law that was just passed. I’ll be monitoring the process very closely, as I’m sure just about every other marijuana fan will be too.

  • “There are already members of Congress that are expressing desires to block the law from becoming a reality. ”

    Um, yeah, that would be mostly (and I mean really, really mostly) Republicans… specifically, this one:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/house-republican-vows-to-upend-dc-ballot-measure-legalizing-marijuana/2014/11/05/10304f2c-6508-11e4-9fdc-d43b053ecb4d_story.html

    > Such was the case after D.C. voters approved sales of medical marijuana in 1998. Republican House members attached provisions to federal spending bills to keep it from taking effect for 11 years.

    > On Wednesday, Rep. Andy Harris , a Republican who represents Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said he would employ similar tactics to block the D.C. measure.

    This, of course, raises the question of the real story from Tuesday… A whole lot of people voted to legalize weed, and a whole bunch of them also voted for weed hating Republicans?

    Do your homework, people. The vast majority of Republican officials oppose legal weed, even medicinal. If you vote for legal weed AND the people who want to keep it ILLEGAL, then you are cutting off your nose despite your face.

    Also, for you Obama haters, from the same story:

    > This summer, Harris persuaded the House Appropriations Committee to back such a rider that would have upended the District’s decision to decriminalize marijuana. The D.C. Council voted in March to strip away criminal penalties and the threat of jail time for possession, citing studies that showed deep racial disparity in drug arrests for marijuana in the nation’s capital. The rider was backed by House Republicans but died in negotiations with Senate Democrats after President Obama threatened to veto the provision.

    Anyone want to provide the counter-factual argument that Willard Romney or John McCain would have done that?

    • Sean Spring

      I see this issue as a way for the Republicans to make themselves look good and follow the WILL of the people.Let’s see if they’re REALLY about small government…

      • We already know that Republicans are NOT about small government. From war to deficits, from wrecking the economy to debt, the GOP is the big government party.

        http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

        • Since the House controls spending it is important to look at who controls it more than who the President is.

          • Um, you do know how a bill becomes a law? Do I need to give you a link to School House Rock?

            Spending bills originate in the House, must pass the Senate, and be signed by the President in order to become law… Further, Presidents often send budgets to the hill, where changes are made and voted on. This President has actually sent bills to the hill to get more infrastructure spending (Keynesian!) while Reagan sent spending bills to greatly increase Pentagon spending (Military Keynesian!).

            So, the GOP has been saying no to an even more efficient form of spending (infrastructure more than pays for itself) while they said yes to a less efficient form (military spending has a much smaller multiplier).

    • Well I’d suppose that the sentiment is that the dislike for Democrat policies generally was stronger than their desire to end Prohibition. And in the election I didn’t note any Democrats or the President running on ending Prohibition. They didn’t make an issue of it although they have been threatening to do so for years. Cowards deserved to lose.

      • The sentiment isn’t important at all. Republicans vote in midterms, liberals don’t. Very simple. And Republicans, being not too bright, vote for legalization while they vote for people who oppose legalization.

        “And in the election I didn’t note any Democrats or the President running on ending Prohibition.”

        I didn’t notice any Republicans doing that either. But I did hear the President, many times, say that putting low level drug offenders in jail is stupid. Add I’ve watched as his attorney general did something about it.

        What would Willard of John “Bomb Bomb Bomb” McCain have done?

        “They didn’t make an issue of it although they have been threatening to do so for years.”

        You’re mighty light on specifics… I’m still waiting for you to show me proof that Republicans know how to add and subtract… But, I can show you plenty of Democrats who made ending prohibition an issue in their campaign, and I can show you plenty of Republicans who made continuing prohibition part of their campaign. In fact, you voted for one to be your Governor.

        So, I’d say those Republicans are cowards, and deserve to lose. And yet you, for some reason you have yet to articulate well, still vote for them.

        And this…

        “Democrat policies generally”

        Heh.

        Unemployment down below 5% from the 10% Bush left it at.

        GDP above 3%, when Bush left it at NEGATIVE 9%.

        Longest stretch of job growth in history.

        Deficit cut by 2/3rd’s (Bush left it at over a trillion–proving that you’re a liar when you say Republicans know how to add and subtract)

        Gas at $3 a gallon.

        Gee, I guess all you don’t like about Democrats is they don’t lie us into enough wars.

  • James Grisham

    If the Republicans try to block this they’ll just get voted right back out of power.

    • Probably not in the House, though. Gerrymandering is keeping the House in GOP hands for a long time to come unless a whole bunch of people start voting for Democrats. And as I’ve learned here, not even weed is enough to make some people stop voting for the hippie punching authoritarians.

  • Roberto Tomás

    can’t wait to hear when it comes into effect .. I’m just up north of DC a few minutes, I’ll be sure to come downtown to the change once it is time. :)

  • greenthumb1980

    With the YES vote majority almost 70% it would be political suicide to vote against, just plain suicide!

  • Tony Aroma

    Now that DC is legal, assuming Congress allows it to go through, what does that mean for the rest of the country? As I understand it, the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution says that laws must apply the same to everyone. Congress can’t make laws that discriminate, or that apply only to certain people or locations. So if Congress says legalization is OK in DC, then it’s going to be really difficult for the feds to prosecute it elsewhere. I also can’t help wondering how the DEA will react to weed being sold openly in their own back yard.

    • Billy Bob Merkowitz

      It’s not going to be sold in their back yard. It’s going to be sold on their doorstep.

      • Keith Ritman

        on their doorstep, in their back yard at their fucking barbeques and family get togethers

  • AAMCO

    Out fucking standing, I have already used the sentence You can have 2 ounces of weed in DC and not here, WTF

  • painkills2

    It seems like one of the biggest hurdles to legalization is the issue of driving while under the influence, so I expect DC to push some kind of THC limits for driving. Oregon and Alaska, too, right?

    • Keith Ritman

      There are no possible measurements for the impairment of a person based upon lab tests. I have been on MMj for 37 years hourly. Even if I stopped today the chemichals would linger in my body until Death. How do you judge that?

  • Cyndysub

    I bet that this has the federal politicians squirming in their seats.

  • Guest

    same time make it legal for recreational use?

    This make NO sense. So, it is STILL illegal & classified as a dangerous drug, but yet it is legal for recreational use.

    Am I taking crazy pills? Does that make sense to anyone?

    I think the reason they are keeping it as “Schedule I” is because it prevents military members & government workers from being able to use marijuana.

    That is the ONLY reason I can think of for them to keeping it Schedule I & illegal on the federal level.

    But, it doesn’t change the fact that the federal law conflicts with the laws of the capitol itself. How can the capitol legalize it for recreational use, but the majority of the people who live, or work in the capitol cannot use it, because it is listed on the drug screening tests, because it is Schedule I.

    I swear, the United States is officially “Bizarro World.”

    • Mark Elrod

      Sorry, I tried to delete the post, but no matter what I do, it won’t delete.

    • Keith Ritman

      yup

    • pkr8ch

      I think your forgetting all of the industries that want to keep cannabis at schedule 1 classification. Big pharma, tobacco, timber, alcohol, and so many more just don’t want it to exist due to the threat it has to their profits if it were to become legal.

  • Mark Elrod

    How can something be “Schedule I,” which treats it like it is one of the most dangerous things on Earth, but at the same time make it legal for recreational use?

    This make NO sense. So, it is STILL illegal & classified as a dangerous drug, but yet it is legal for recreational use.

    Am I taking crazy pills? Does that make sense to anyone?

    I think the reason they are keeping it as “Schedule I” is because it prevents military members & government workers from being able to use marijuana.

    That is the ONLY reason I can think of for them to keeping it Schedule I & illegal on the federal level.

    But, it doesn’t change the fact that the federal law conflicts with the laws of the capitol itself. How can the capitol legalize it for recreational use, but the majority of the people who live, or work in the capitol cannot use it, because it is listed on the drug screening tests, because it is Schedule I.

    I swear, the United States is officially “Bizarro World.”

    • Alcohol Prohibition died in a similar way.

      • No it didn’t. We had to repeal the prohibition amendment (18th) by passing another amendment (21st).

        And you tell me to get educated…

        • Nicholas S. Antolick

          I see nothing in M. Simon’s statement that isn’t compatible with that, Mr. Smarty-Panties… :P lol

          • You don’t? Alcohol didn’t get rescheduled. It got prohibited, then un-prohibited. Ergo, M. Simon’s assertion that alcohol prohibition died the same way that marijuana prohibition will is flatly false. We never had a constitutional amendment to prohibit marijuana.

  • Uncle Arthur

    America’s mayor! Thank you Mayor Bowser for having the courage to stand with legalization.

  • guest

    So, when DC gets MJ stores, and I drive in from out of state to buy a bunch, and then drive home with the MJ hidden deep in my backpack. And I’m not stoned at all. But the cops pull me over anyway b/c they see an out-of-state license plate, can they search my car and take the weed and arrest me? I’d like to know this.

    • If they have “probable cause,” yes. And, for the record, probable cause is whatever they say it is.

      • Nicholas S. Antolick

        I’d guess that MANY out of state cars go through, little lone all of the tourists to the museums and government landmarks. An older guy who isn’t wearing a Dr. Seuss hat with Grateful Dead stickers on his $200 beater car shouldn’t draw much suspicion, particularly if it is very well concealed, odor-resistant and well hidden, and of course, the occupants of the car are totally sober…

        • guest

          My guess is that demand will be really high (ba-dum-bum) at the DC stores if/when they happen. Unlike the west coast, there’s nothing like it on the east.

  • Keith Ritman

    No they should NOT consider it being sold. They have the right idea. Freedom to grow, smoke and give.

  • Nicholas S. Antolick

    Well, out of staters will still want it to be sold. Breaking a law, I know, but the fact is that it is worth it to procure higher quality cannabis than what’s available to most in many nearby states. I’m also fairly certain that the district will prefer to make tax money off of it, especially after Colorado demonstrated just how profitable to their state it is…