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Washington Post: Congress Should Allow DC To Legalize Marijuana


marijuana daylin leach senate bill 528 dcThere were some huge victories on Election Day 2014. Arguably the biggest victory was the passage of Initiative 71 in Washington D.C.. All legalization victories were significant, but due to Washington D.C.’s relation to the federal government, a strong case can be made that it is the hugest legalization victory to date. It is going to force Congress’ hand when it comes to marijuana legalization. Sure, it doesn’t force the federal government to change federal marijuana policy. However, it does force Congress to either allow the legalization implementation to happen, or trample democracy. I’d imagine most federal politicians will allow it to occur, but there will no doubt be some politicians that want to cling to failed polices of the past, and in doing so, will highlight just how dumb these federal politicians are (which isn’t saying a lot, considering they are federal politicians).

Some politicians have already publicly stated their intent to block the will of the voters, which resulted in a response from an unlikely source. Per the Washington Post Editorial Board:

D.C. VOTERS, as expected, gave overwhelming approval to a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana and, as expected, there were immediate rumblings from Capitol Hill of plans to block its implementation. We did not favor passage of Initiative 71, but we do believe in democracy and self-government. Congress should recognize how inappropriate it would be to interfere with the District on this local issue.

Within hours of Tuesday’s passage of a measure that would make it permissible for adults in the District to possess as much as 2 ounces of marijuana, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) signaled his interest in preventing the law from going into effect. “I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action,” said Mr. Harris, who previously tried to upend the District’s decriminalization of marijuana. Mr. Harris said his interest stems from concerns about the possible impact of legalization on adolescent drug use, yet he has shown little interest in the welfare of teenagers who reside in states that have moved to legalize the drug.

The Washington Post has never been a friend to the marijuana reform movement, proven by their article to vote ‘no’ on Initiative 71, which was ripe with reefer madness. But, I think it’s worth commending the paper on not only admitting that they were wrong, but standing up to calls from members of Congress to block the initiative from becoming law. It’s a new era that we live in, which still blows my mind just about every time that I think about it. Long gone are the days when a handful of politicians can keep marijuana prohibition in place. I hope Andy Harris gets voted out sooner than later.


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Johnny Green


  1. I do think states having different laws must be very complicated, but i am also confused for Americans as it is classed as a schedule 1 drug, when some states have legalized it whereas the UK believe it to be addictive and highly dangerous to mental health but it is still only classed as a class b drug.

  2. I do think states having different laws must be very complicated, but i am also confused for Americans as it ass classes as a schedule 1 drug, when some states have legalized it whereas the UK believe it to be addictive and highly dangerous to mental health but it is still only classed as a class b drug.

  3. ‘But pot legalization might still happen in D.C. thanks to a possible legal loophole and vague legal jargon.

    The question is whether there’s a difference between “enacting” a law and “carrying out” a law. The latter two words are absent from the part of the rider that forbids funding to marijuana legalization in D.C., meaning if lawmakers can prove they are simply “carrying out” what voters approved in November, then legalization can go forward.

    It’s a jargony peek into just how complicated politics can be on the Hill, with several congressional Democrats telling The Washington Post it was the best they could do while fighting to get the bill passed.’

  4. whilst congress was still able to block the bill, apparently there is talk of a loophole that might be able to be exploited in order to get the bill passed for DC, however i am unsure at how likely this would be if it is actually feasible at all. the article i read can be found here if you are interested.

  5. I think it is also worth mentioning that any tax money made from cannabis is able to help the local population, Colorado is a great example of this, i recently read an article on how they are using the tax money to fund more school nurses for the local schools.

  6. Great article, I would however just point out that they never actually admitted they were ‘wrong’ in any stance they took.

  7. I agree. I just posted above thinking about the conjunction of I-71 and this case. Between the two of them, if could be a perfect storm for the end of prohibition.

  8. I just wanted to add that this article is one of the best policy pieces I’ve read about the current situation in DC. Your focus on covering what the the Post is saying (in this case) has given you a scoop. Honestly, it looks like endgame, shockingly soon, to me.

    Here’s why: the federal case U.S. vrs. Pickard in California’s Eastern District Court, in California’s Eastern District Court (http://blog.norml.org/2014/10/20/federal-district-court-judge-asks-should-federal-law-classify-cannabis-as-one-of-the-nations-most-dangerous-drugs/), which has taken up the constitutionality of the schedule one classification, is one pincer of the tongs that are closing about the DEA ; the passage of initiative 71 is the other. One of them is already done, and the only conceivable reason to try to roll it back is from some delusion that it can be stopped. But why can it be stopped? Because the DEA says cannabis is a schedule 1 drug! Hmmm…..

    With the suffering of epileptic children at stake, the Greek furies are about to be set lose. DC is a powerful leverage point, and Federal Judges are obviously dangerously unpredictable. They actually read one another’s footnotes.

    So, among other reasons why Republicans are unlikely to push back too hard against DC, if they are rational, is that they should know what the California law case means for such an effort. It is a chilling reminder of which way the wind is blowing; a district court judge may very well be about to reverse a conviction based on the idea that the schedule one classification is unconstitutional. Who wants to stand in front of that steamroller, given the energetic activities of many at the state and local levels who are sick and tired of the destructiveness of prohibition.

    Now, one doesn’t like to count chickens before they are hatched, but it is hard for me to see how any Judge can do a serious review of the evidence and come back upholding any such nonsense as schedule one classification. So when that gets thrown out, *and* cannabis is legal in DC, well then, I think that’s checkmate in not too many moves.

  9. “yet he has shown little interest in the welfare of teenagers who reside in states that have moved to legalize the drug.”

    This would appear to be a subtle reference to the well established fact that none of the predictions of the cannabis cold warriors is coming true in the states that have relaxed their cannabis laws. Quite the opposite seems to be happening – rates of teen consumption go down, not up; rates of traffic accidents go down, not up; violent crime goes down, not up. But specifically, with respect to that madman Harris’s rhetoric about protecting kids, all the evidence suggests that young people will benefit from slight but real gains in the quality of their lives. One recent article (I am sorry the venue and author escape me at the moment, I have been reading so much lately….) chronicled the impact of legalization for street kids. They drink less, feel more in control, and are less inclined to the madness regularly brought on by the decline in influence of the frontal cortex and shift of control to the lower parts of the nervous system that is the consequence of over-consumption of alcohol…..

    …..Why is Mr. Harris against that? I’d like to know. I’d really like to know. Can someone from his office please call me to explain?

  10. You’re absolutely right on all points. Especially about the national implications if progress continues, state by state. Article V of the Constitution is the provision for State Ratifying Conventions, which is how the 23rd Amendment was added that ended the first Prohibition back in the 1930s. Basically, if 3/4’s of the states (38) say it’s legal, it becomes legal at the Federal level. It’s slightly more complicated than I made it appear, but that’s the basic gist of it. So if 38 states have medical cannabis, the Feds will not have a choice in the matter.

  11. channing webster on

    The congress could make the scheduling issue a mute point, passing a medical MJ law. Of course that’s not realistic. Another option is executive order. The DEA and NIDA will never downgrade because it’ll negatively affect their budgets; therefore, the next president could go over their heads.

    I think the best chance for federal recognition of medical MJ will be from the Supreme Court. The court has ruled that if 30+ states ban the death penalty it will amount to cruel and unusual punishment for those in the remaining states. More recently the court invalidated life without parole for juveniles using a similar rationale.

    Public opinion is so much in favor of medical MJ that it’d have to be a consideration once 30+ states pass laws. I’d imagine the court mandating an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the MJ in question was being used for medicinal purposes; or, allowing juries to make such a determination. It could happen.

  12. There is a much bigger issue holding back the legalization of Marijuana. Big Pharma! Marijuana is a natural medicine that costs less and relieves symptoms better than most of the pills the industry wants to shove down our throats. Not just glaucoma but arthritis and epilepsy and cancer and M.S. just to name a few. Drug companies make money from patenting molecular structure compounds. If you can grow a cure in your back yard, they lose money. They can’t duplicate the natural compound & they can’t patent the plant. There is not one test ever done stating the plant Marijuana has an adverse reaction of death. Even though death is a common side effect of most prescribed medications if taken improperly. The national debt could be solvent if hemp was grown for other practical purposes and became an export. It was a multi- billion dollar business in the 1920’s and was encouraged to grow. Not to mention the other billion dollar business, prison. The free labor private prisons receive due to over saturation of the prison population, mostly marijuana ” offenders”; is staggering. U.S.A, it’s never about your health or well being. It’s all about the money.

  13. Only wanted to point out that Schedule 1 is ridiculous for cannabis. In reality it should be Schedule IV or Schedule V, (my own Schedule which means I will get my meds. just about the same way I’ve always have on the black market). So screw Harris the NIDA and the DEA and the horse they rode in on.

  14. Harris is on his way out.. The people will speak even if 90% is needed. This guy is an old school idiot and needs to be voted out to show him so.. Bet he changes his tune when he Realizes his kush job is on the line.. It’s all these guys care about is their constituents, there baggers, and the money pacs that they play for. Two people like him it’s not we the people it’s me and the donators. Aka The lobbyist they represent. If you think people like Harris represent the people you’re crazy., its more like who’s got the most influence on their (Mr. Harris’s) best interest (and every other anti-politician) not ours.. What happened to we the people? 60% ? Seems a little unfair and biased don’t you think ? I am flabbergasted by the whole issue

  15. [Federal] Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law
    A U.S. District Judge in California is examining the legality of America’s marijuana laws,
    and she may be on the verge of throwing the entire system into chaos.
    “It’s earth-shattering to even have this hearing,”
    per Stetson University College of Law Professor Adam Levine..

    Case: “United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJ”

    This could be Huge! No matter which way the judge rules,
    the case will be appealed to the next-higher court,
    the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
    This is a story more than worth following.
    About $14 billion worth.

    ” .. if all 50 states and the federal government legalized cannabis, combined sales for both medical and retail marijuana could balloon to $35 billion a year by 2020.. If the federal government doesn’t end prohibition and the trajectory of state legalization continues on its current path, with more, but not all, states legalizing marijuana in some form, the industry in 2020 would still be worth $21 billion..” according to a new report from GreenWave Advisors, a research and advisory firm that serves the emerging marijuana industry in the U.S.

  16. It needs to go to Schedule III or lower, or else the NIDA & DEA will maintain their monopoly on all domestic clinical research into cannabis. The CSA requires all sources of Schedule I and Schedule II substances to be licensed by them. So far, they’ve only licensed one cannabis production operation at Ole Miss. We should not be foolish enough to expect that to change if cannabis were only rescheduled to Schedule II. Schedule II would merely be downgrading their monopoly to a stranglehold.

  17. Yep, bible thumpers don’t want weed to win they just want to push their bullshit on everyone.

  18. once again a misinformed congressman voted into office. happens all the time. its about time the government abolishes congress. nothing gets done.nothing of any importance. there are so many issues that need serious attention that are important. trying to block passage of what the people have strongly voted for is beyond idiotic. voters you know who he is time to show him the door

  19. Andy Harris is a chuckle headed boob and I’m sorry to say most of his colleagues in Congress are pretty much the same. Change the damn stupid Schedule 1 nonsense to a more realistic Schedule 2 or lower. Get Harris and the other opportunistic, ambulance chasing, lowlife, ER haunting lawyers, out of the House and back to the 1930’s where they will be right at home with Harry Angshlinger.

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