D.C.’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative Under Review By Congress

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The marijuana legalization initiative adopted by D.C. voters was transmitted to Congress Tuesday, starting the clock on a review period that defies efforts by Republicans to block its implementation.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson had Initiative 71 transmitted to the House and Senate Tuesday, starting the 30-day legislative review period during which Congress can move to disapprove the legislation.

By transmitting the legislation, the council ignores the efforts of some Republican lawmakers who have sought to stop the legalization effort. Last year, Republicans amended a congressional spending bill to include language they say blocks the city from spending any money to loosen drug laws.

But the potential for a showdown between the District and Congress looms as D.C. lawmakers, including Mr. Mendelson and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, believe that the initiative was self-executing and took effect when voters approved it — well ahead of the adoption of the spending bill by Congress.


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