I’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.