There were some huge victories on Election Day 2014. Arguably the biggest victory was the passage of Initiative 71 in Washington D.C.. All legalization victories were significant, but due to Washington D.C.’s relation to the federal government, a strong case can be made that it is the hugest legalization victory to date. It is going to force Congress’ hand when it comes to marijuana legalization. Sure, it doesn’t force the federal government to change federal marijuana policy. However, it does force Congress to either allow the legalization implementation to happen, or trample democracy. I’d imagine most federal politicians will allow it to occur, but there will no doubt be some politicians that want to cling to failed polices of the past, and in doing so, will highlight just how dumb these federal politicians are (which isn’t saying a lot, considering they are federal politicians).
Some politicians have already publicly stated their intent to block the will of the voters, which resulted in a response from an unlikely source. Per the Washington Post Editorial Board:
D.C. VOTERS, as expected, gave overwhelming approval to a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana and, as expected, there were immediate rumblings from Capitol Hill of plans to block its implementation. We did not favor passage of Initiative 71, but we do believe in democracy and self-government. Congress should recognize how inappropriate it would be to interfere with the District on this local issue.
Within hours of Tuesday’s passage of a measure that would make it permissible for adults in the District to possess as much as 2 ounces of marijuana, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) signaled his interest in preventing the law from going into effect. “I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action,” said Mr. Harris, who previously tried to upend the District’s decriminalization of marijuana. Mr. Harris said his interest stems from concerns about the possible impact of legalization on adolescent drug use, yet he has shown little interest in the welfare of teenagers who reside in states that have moved to legalize the drug.
The Washington Post has never been a friend to the marijuana reform movement, proven by their article to vote ‘no’ on Initiative 71, which was ripe with reefer madness. But, I think it’s worth commending the paper on not only admitting that they were wrong, but standing up to calls from members of Congress to block the initiative from becoming law. It’s a new era that we live in, which still blows my mind just about every time that I think about it. Long gone are the days when a handful of politicians can keep marijuana prohibition in place. I hope Andy Harris gets voted out sooner than later.