The vote to legalize marijuana in our nation’s capital was huge. It was so much bigger than just allowing people to possess and cultivate marijuana legally. The victory on Election Day in D.C. was symbolic of the overall nation fight to reform marijuana laws, and struck right at the heart of the federal government. If people can possess and grow in D.C., it’s only a matter of time when people can do it everywhere else. Marijuana opponents in Congress realize this, which is why they have fought to prevent marijuana legalization from being implemented in Washington D.C..
This last week hardworking activist Dan Riffle asked the United States Drug Czar how he felt about home rule and D.C.’s right to implement marijuana legalization. Below is the tweet I saw containing the Czar’s answer while I was sitting in my cubicle on Friday:
Wow. @csis the Drug Czar just told me even he thinks Congress should respect DC home rule and let DC implement marijuana legalization.
— Dan Riffle (@DanRiffle) February 6, 2015
Below is exactly what was said, via an article Tom Angell wrote for Marijuana.Com:
“As a resident of the District I might not agree about legalization,” said Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), ”but I do agree with our own ability to spend our own money the way that we want to do that.”
Botticelli, whose confirmation as drug czar is expected to be voted on by the Senate on Monday, made the remarks during an event at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
“The president, as it relates to the District, was very clear that the District should stick to its home rule,” said Botticelli, referring to the White House’s just-released Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which contains language letting D.C. spend its own money to enact regulations on legal marijuana sales despite Congressional efforts to erect roadblocks to reform in D.C.
Those are very significant words coming from the acting director of the White House’s drug policy director. As Tom points out in his article, and as many have pointed out since Friday, the acting Drug Czar is supposed to oppose marijuana legalization at all costs, whether it be in D.C. or beyond. But instead he ‘broke character’ and spoke his mind. I think he realizes that the battle to implement marijuana legalization in D.C. is bigger than just one initiative. D.C. voters approved something, and they should be able to be governed by the law that was passed.