Can Congress Get Stoned If D.C. Legalizes Marijuana?

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  When the District of Columbia Board of Elections agreed to put an initiative on the November 4 ballot that would legalize marijuana in the district, they prompted an interesting question: Will Congress be allowed to get stoned?

The short answer is—yes. If passed, Initiative 71 will allow D.C. residents above the age of 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to six cannabis plants at home, and transfer, not sell, up to 1 ounce. Assuming that members of Congress who live in D.C. are adults, they, too, will be permitted to get stoned at their leisure.

But don’t start dreaming of hot-boxing the Capitol. “This initiative changes D.C. law,” says Bill Piper, the director of public affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Marijuana possession would still be illegal on federal property.” Until cannabis is removed from the schedule I substance list, it will not be allowed on federal property. So members of Congress couldn’t light up at work—but they could if they live in the district. “Possessing marijuana in their own home would be legal under D.C. law, as it would be for anybody else,” says Piper.

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