Lawmakers Block D.C.’s Marijuana Legalization

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  A plan to regulate and tax marijuana in the District fell victim on Tuesday to federal budget negotiators, who inserted an amendment into a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that effectively overturns a voter-approved initiative legalizing recreational use of the drug in the District.

But the measure appeared to go much further, also rolling back a law approved by the council this year eliminating criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The “rider,” which Republicans had indicated they would attach to the spending bill, prohibits federal and local funds from being used to “enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance.”

A summary of the measure posted on the House Appropriations Committee website, though, suggests a more narrow focus, saying it prohibits funds from being used to “implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District.”



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