DC Adds A New Factor To Nation’s Debate On Legalizing Pot

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation’s capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African Americans on minor drug charges.

The racial justice aspect of the campaign is one of many factors making the District of Columbia’s pot legalization push different from what’s happened in Colorado, Washington state and other places around the country.

The District is not a state. Pot would still be illegal on federal land, so there would be no lighting up at the Jefferson Memorial or on the National Mall. And Washington remains under the thumb of Congress, which could thwart the will of the voters as it has on other matters where liberal District tendencies clash with conservative priorities on Capitol Hill.

DEA May Be Losing The War On Marijuana Politics

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: For narcotics agents, who often confront hostile situations, Capitol Hill has been a refuge where lawmakers stand ready to salute efforts in the nation’s war on drugs.

Lately, however, the Drug Enforcement Administration has found itself under attack in Congress as it holds its ground against marijuana legalization while the resolve of longtime political allies — and the White House and Justice Department to which it reports — rapidly fades.

“For 13 of the 14 years I have worked on this issue, when the DEA came to a hearing, committee members jumped over themselves to cheerlead,” said Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group. “Now the lawmakers are not just asking tough questions, but also getting aggressive with their arguments.”

Medical Marijuana Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Medical marijuana supporters flocked to Capitol Hill on Monday to push for legislation that would prohibit the federal government from restricting state medical-marijuana laws.

“We’re doing this work,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical-pot group that brought 152 people to Washington to lobby 300 members of Congress. “It’s not just a bunch of potheads [saying], Please let us do this.”

The House bill would offer legal clarity to the growing number of states that are legalizing medical marijuana even as it remains illegal under federal law. New York might become the 21st state to legalize medicinal marijuana this year, but the Drug Enforcement Agency considers marijuana a drug on the same level as heroin, and the Justice Department under the Obama Administration hasn’t always been consistent in its level of prosecutorial restraint and its willingness to defer to state laws.

 

High On Capitol Hill: 'I Will Always Be Able To Buy Pot From Friends Who Work On The Hill'

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Riding the high, so to speak, of Colorado’s legalization of the recreational use of cannabis, six members of the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, spoke before the Fairfax County legislative delegation over the weekend.

In the video above, you can hear murmurs in the crowd when the topic is first broached. [Read more…]

In Oregon Pot Bill Under Discussion For 2014

OREGON: State lawmakers are going to debate whether they should pass a bill asking voters if Oregon should legalize recreational marijuana.

That’s because Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, announced plans Friday to introduce a referral bill on marijuana during the 2014 session.

“We should not at this point ask the voters to pass a detailed bill without it being fully vetted through this process,” Prozanski said.

Oregon voters rejected a 2012 initiative that would have allowed residents to cultivate and use marijuana for non-medicinal purposes. In 2013, a House bill similar to the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act failed to get out of committee by the end of the session. [Read more…]

In Oregon Pot Bill Under Discussion For 2014

OREGON: State lawmakers are going to debate whether they should pass a bill asking voters if Oregon should legalize recreational marijuana.

That’s because Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, announced plans Friday to introduce a referral bill on marijuana during the 2014 session.

“We should not at this point ask the voters to pass a detailed bill without it being fully vetted through this process,” Prozanski said.

Oregon voters rejected a 2012 initiative that would have allowed residents to cultivate and use marijuana for non-medicinal purposes. In 2013, a House bill similar to the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act failed to get out of committee by the end of the session. [Read more…]

Seattle Weed Delivery Co-Op Gets Early Jump On Retail Pot

WASHINGTON: Meet the Raccoons, your friendly neighborhood marijuana delivery men. At least for now. They’re a rotating group of seven entrepreneurs who will bicycle recreational marijuana to your Capitol Hill home, no medical card required. [Read more…]

21 marijuana stores planned for Seattle, 1,000-foot rule changed

WASHINGTON: The numbers are in: Seattle is planned to have 21 legal marijuana retail locations starting in 2014. 40 additional stores could dot King County, and there will be 334 legal pot retail locations allowed statewide. [Read more…]