Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that she will use President Trump’s recent support for respecting state policies regulating marijuana to give a boost to her efforts to remove the congressional rider that bars the District of Columbia from spending its local funds on commercializing recreational marijuana.
Norton has been fighting to remove this anti-home-rule rider, which was first attached to D.C.’s appropriations bill by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) after D.C. voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum (Initiative 71) in 2014 to legalize recreational marijuana.
The Harris rider has been included in annual D.C. appropriations bills since then by Republicans, including in the most recent fiscal year 2018 omnibus. Harris originally tried to block D.C.’s Initiative 71 altogether, but Norton found a loophole in the rider’s language and the initiative remains law. As a result, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is legal in the District, but the Harris rider continue to block D.C. from taking steps to commercialize or regulate the sale of recreational marijuana.
“Even President Trump has spoken up, as he did during his campaign, to recognize that states and localities should be left alone by the federal government to determine their own marijuana policies,” Norton said. “National policy should be no different in D.C. The anti-democratic marijuana rider that blocks the will of D.C. voters has created a limbo where possession of marijuana is legal, yet the city cannot promulgate needed regulations.
Eight states have legalized marijuana commercialization. Congress should follow President Trump’s lead on marijuana policy by allowing localities, including D.C., to pursue local policies, without interference from the federal government.”