GOP marijuana
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Republicans Vote To Block D.C.’s New Marijuana Decriminalization Law

GOP marijuanaWashington, D.C. – Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) prohibiting the District of Columbia from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana. The amendment is directed at a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine.

“It is outrageous that members of Congress are trying to overturn a locally-enacted law that has the overwhelming support of D.C. voters and the D.C. Council,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance.  “That Rep. Harris is picking on a majority black district and no other jurisdiction with marijuana decriminalization is very telling. His own state has decriminalized marijuana but he’s not interfering with it.”

In 2013, a study released by the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital found that blacks are eight times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in D.C. than non-blacks. In fact, in 2010, blacks constituted 91 percent of all marijuana arrests in D.C – despite the fact that data show whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates.

The “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014” eliminates the threat of arrest for possessing marijuana and ensure that people are no longer saddled with life-long convictions that make it difficult to obtain employment and housing. Instead of arresting people, the bill would impose a $25 civil fine for possession as well as forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia used to consume or carry it.

This new law is viewed by D.C. lawmakers and advocates as a model for other jurisdictions looking to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system. By setting a $25 fine, which is the lowest civil fine for possession among eighteen states that have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, D.C. lawmakers cited the need to be responsive to social factors such as homelessness in the District and high rates of poverty in D.C. Wards that have seen the greatest number of marijuana arrests.

The D.C. law takes effect in a few weeks. The amendment passed by Committee Republicans wouldn’t take effect until later this year, assuming it passes the House and Senate and is signed by the president. Should this Republican-led amendment take effect later this year, it may interrupt enforcement by D.C. police officers of the civil fine and marijuana seizure provisions of the law.

“D.C. lawmakers recently decriminalized marijuana possession because the people of the District of Columbia demanded an end to the disproportionate arrest of African Americans for small amounts of marijuana,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance. “Any effort by Congress that would block D.C.’s efforts to reform its marijuana laws denies the people of the Nation’s Capital the democratic right to pursue racial and social justice.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

  • Donato

    Another nail in the coffin of the Republican Party. If these greedy old stubborn bastards continue to show nothing but CONTEMPT toward the will of the people they will ALL be voted out BY the people!

    • joe

      Dumb-asses will still find a reason to vote for them.

      • Valient

        Unfortunately, this is true. Harris is rep of district 1. He also was heavily against the bills that MD passed, and was vocally against the defunding bill that passed in the house recently.

        I used to live in a town that was included there, and it was mostly a mix of super rich and super trailer park. Literally, trailer parks surrounding the private school where the children drove their own Escalades. They all believe that Obama caused all of their problems, and there are 3 bars and 3 liquor stores in a 2 mile stretch of road. Oh, there’s also a very large heroin/prescription pill problem in the area.

        But, yeah, he hates cannabis instead.

    • Jetdoc

      Understand that it was a Republican who WROTE the legislation that the U.S.House passed, keeping the DEA from raiding Marijuana businesses in Marijuana States. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is probably our best friend in Congress right now. He and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are constantly writing favorable legislation for us. It’s BOTH parties that are stopping us! The sooner WE learn that the faster we’ll get to legalization!

  • Jetdoc

    I hate to say it, but we BETTER pay attention here. The NEO-cons in the GOP are getting BOLD. (and I’m a Republican) Why? Because this President continues to FUCK the American people incessantly and with an approval rating of 38%, his policies COULD end up setting us back 20 years in this movement! It’s already been told to you, what CERTAIN Republicans are gonna do if elected. You better pay attention. That DOESN’T mean blindly voting Democrat. They’re JUST as bad! FIND OUT what these people’s policies are on Marijuana. Tell them up front that I won’t vote for you BECAUSE of your stance on marijuana! Vote for a “Constitutionalist” and I PROMISE you, they won’t touch our Marijuana! They understand that “Personal Freedoms” are #1 in the Constitution! States Rights closely follow!

    • stellarvoyager

      A Romney presidency would have been an unmitigated disaster for our movement. Likewise for a Christie or Jeb Bush presidency in 2016. In polling, democrats and independents tend to support legalization at rates approaching 60 – 65%. Republicans lag behind at about 35%. Yes, there are individual democrats who are against us and individual republicans who support us, but as a group, the GOP has been standing in the way of cannabis law reform, and promoting drug-war style, militarized law-enforcement prohibition for decades. They led the charge on the WOD and continue to be its greatest proponents. Michelle Leonhart and Asa Hutchinson were Bush appointees. Melinda Haag was a Bush appointee. I have always held the position that federal prohibition will end when the GOP finally comes around to supporting its end, even at the level of 40 – 45%. The DEA defunding measure passed the house on the strength of democratic votes. It only even was able to pass because Boehner decided to allow a floor vote, proving my point that the dominoes will start falling once enough of the GOP comes around. The rest of the country is already on board, and has been for several years.

      • Jetdoc

        Latest polls show Republican support at 39% for full legalization. 43-45% and growing more everyday, for Medical, nationally. Here in AZ we’re at 49%-51% for medical. In many Conservative states, the PEOPLE believe it should be legal. It’s the dumbasses they fucking elect that hold the line on jailing everyone. But then when you look, they own STOCK in Private Prisons! I just had it out with Senator John McCain over this issue. I wrote him last week asking for his support for the DEA defunding bill. I got back a doublespeak response calling for more research, yet throwing his support and wanting more funding for the NIH and the FDA to research this. I went OFF! Told him his position was hypocritical because you say “marijuana needs to be researched more”, then throw your support behind the agencies that are STOPPING the research. I told him if he was SERIOUS about that, propose a bill requiring the FDA to release the marijuana they are in control of, to the Institutes who’ve had requests in for over 20 years? I told him our children are dying while he dances around the issue, and that AZ citizens are watching!

        • pink

          You only have to look at the recent house vote on the house vote to defund DEA raids in mmj states to see that the democrats have republicans beat on this issue overwhelmingly.

    • Johnny Bloomington

      You know you don’t have to pick a party. They both suck! Be independent.

      • Krazie

        That strategy historically produces a result that you would not like.

        • Johnny Bloomington

          Like what and with a source?

          • Hamnose

            Krazie is right. In a First Past the Post voting system you are always going to have a two party system. So if you vote for a third party you nearly always end up helping the candidate who least shares your values because the vote is split between the candidates that do share your values. In the U.S. there was the Know Nothing party. The Socialist Party was really big for a while. There was a Populist Party. Huey P. Long had his own thing going. But always after a little upheaval and within one election cycle it always went back to the SOS: two party system. You need to change the Constitution to change this situation.

    • Patricia Silverman

      the controlled substances act, is unconstitutional, there is no way to get marijuana out of schedule 1 here’s the proof available in the public record the LaGuardia report, 1937, the Shaffer report 1972, Administrative Judge Andrew Young 1988, Administrative Judge Mary Ellen Bittner 2007, add to that 23 medical Marijuana states with physicians recommending Medical marijuana and us patent US6630507 all show that there is a medical use, yet dea administrator overruled both judges, fda maintains that there is no medical use and the Drug Czar is required by law to lie “A couple of years ago at DrugWarRant, Pete Guither highlighted a statutory provision that arguably prohibits the head of the ONDCP from acknowledging the truth about marijuana or any other currently illegal drug. The Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 says the drug czar shall “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a [Schedule I] substance” that “has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration.” If the drug czar admitted that marijuana has medical utility, Guither argues, he would be conceding that it does not meet the criteria for Schedule I (completely prohibited) substances and thereby violating his statutory responsibilities” The white house says that only congress can take it out of schedule 1 but the executive branch is controlled by the president and the chances of getting congress to over rule itself is well…. so the only choice is the will of We the People.

    • Krazie

      You need to get you facts straight about Obama, he has done more good for this country’s people and to pave the way for sane treatment of the global warming issue. The President has just put into law sweeping protections and rights for the LGBT community that will protect them from the republican thumpers.The republicans have their heads up their asses on this issue. Their feeble christian polluted minds refuse to embrace reality.

      • Tree

        @ Krazie, YOU better get you’re facts straight! OBAMA is fucking us all by what he is doing to this country letting the illegals invade us like fire ants! You keep thinking that OBAMA is the fucking Mesiah and you will wake up one morning and find out you are late for “Spanish class”!!!
        I am all for the legalization of marijuana, but if we AMERICANS dont wake up and start voting for the individuals that are for this country and kick the idiots out of office who wish to “transform” this country, we are ALL in serious trouble!!! JETDOC is absolutely correct!!!
        Be you Republican or Democrat, you’d better pay attention and help get our country back by voting correctly!!!

  • Sarijuana

    I wish WE could vote on whether these stupid, power hungry lawmakers can waste federal money on such stupid and discriminatory laws. DC should just order their police to ignore marijuana possession all together and screw them.

  • Uncle Arthur

    Congressman Dumbass may have inadvertently handed the legalization movement a gift. The money that he’s trying to block is the money that would be used to enforce decriminalization like writing citations, processing fines, etc. It’s looks like Washington DC may have defacto legalization according to this WaPo article that I dug up:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/wp/2014/06/25/did-rep-andy-harris-inadvertently-legalize-marijuana-possession-in-d-c/?tid=pm_local_pop

  • raykaye

    What else does one expect from the party of “NO!” ??

    • skoallio

      DEMOCRAT PARTY PLATFORM ON DRUGS!

      1. Reduce racial disparities in sentencing for drug crimes

      The administration of justice should be fair and impartial. That’s why we enacted the Fair Sentencing Act, reducing racial disparities in sentencing for drug crimes.

      We will continue to nominate and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character and will always demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution and bring with them a sense of how American society works and how the American people live.

      2. Join Central American governments to combat narco-traffic

      We have strengthened cooperation with Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Central America to combat narco-traffickers and criminal gangs that threaten their citizens and ours. We will also work to disrupt organizedcrime networks seeking to use the Caribbean to smuggle drugs into our country. As we collectively confront these challenges, we will continue to support the region’s security forces, border security, and police with the equipment, training, and technologies they need to keep their communities safe. We will improve coordination and share more information so that those who traffic in drugs and in human beings have fewer places to hide. And we will continue to put unprecedented pressure on cartel finances, including in the United States.

      3. Bring to justice those bringing drugs to America

      We will increase efforts to combat drug-trafficking throughout the Caribbean and ensure that those involved in bringing drugs into the U.S. are brought to justice. We will assist in combating corruption so that funds made available for development are used appropriately.

      4. Drugs in prison: get clean to get out

      We have to test prisoners for drugs while they are in jail, treat them, and break up the drug rings inside our prison system. Drug and alcohol abuse is implicated in the crimes of 80 percent of the criminals behind bars. We should make prisoners a simple deal: get clean to get out, stay clean to stay out. We should impose strict supervision of those who have just been released on parole. In return, we should help them make it in the workplace.

      5. Dry up drug demand via more enforcement plus more treatment

      We should send a strong message to every child: drugs are wrong & can kill you. We need to dry up drug demand, hold up drugs at the border, and break up the drug rings that spread poison on our streets. We should open more drug courts, to speed justice for drug-related crimes; double the number of drug hot-spots where we aggressively target our enforcement efforts; expand drug treatment for at-risk youth; make sure that all of our school zones are drug-free; and provide drug treatment upon demand.

      Notice something missing? Wheres legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana in the DEMOCRAT party platform??? Keep pretending its only the GOP. When it comes to drug policy, theres no difference between the 2 parties. This looks like something Kevin Sabet came up with.

  • ted mishler

    the republican party, nor the prohibitionists of cannabis have the right to vote away any ones’ constitutional rights
    our rights can not be voted away by unruly terrorists dressed in suits
    wars were fought for the freedom of the people in this country, and many people died
    are the people in this country going to allow bullies in suits to ruin it?
    i do not think the people will allow it

  • ted mishler

    AND NOW, I believe it is time for myself to get down to what is really important
    looking for the best hash in Denver

  • skoallio

    Unless the Democrat party puts marijuana legalization and medical marijuana in their party platform, you cant point fingers at the GOP.

  • anon

    This could be a blessing in disguise. It will force Obama to finally take a stance on the issue.