DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A Republican-led congressional committee voted Wednesday to block implementation of legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the nation’s capital.
The move came in the form of an amendment to a major spending bill and was sponsored by Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland Republican, who argued that marijuana use can negatively affect the brain development of children.
“Congress has the authority to stop irresponsible actions by local officials, and I am glad we did for the health and safety of children throughout the District,” said Mr. Harris, a doctor representing Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “When I became a physician, I took an oath to do no harm, and decriminalizing marijuana will harm D.C. residents, especially youth.”
Mr. Harris also argued that the city’s law was poorly crafted, saying a similar law passed this year decriminalizing marijuana in Maryland included provisions that refer teen violators for drug treatment and include progressively more serious penalties for repeat offenders.