Every state that has voted in favor of legalization has a slightly different approach – but Washington D.C. voters passed a law in 2014 that was extremely different from any other before it. While other laws not only legalized the possession, use and transfer (as a gift only, not for payment) of marijuana, but also taxed and regulated the commercial production of the plant, the District of Columbia was only able to legalize the home cultivation, personal use, possession and gifted transfer of cannabis.
The reason behind this was Congress passed a spending bill that prevents the city from using government funding to defy federal law by taxing and regulating any illegal substance (meaning marijuana, of course). So instead, 60% of voters in DC did the next best thing and made it as legal as they could. It has led to some issues when it comes to people coming up with creative ways to sell marijuana – like selling juice with a “free gift of marijuana”.
“It would be a violation of federal law to move this bill forward,” Grosso told The DCist. “But I believe, quite passionately, that is what is called for in the District of Columbia when our rights are trampled on a regular basis.”
This year will mark the third attempt – the first having been in 2013 and the second in 2015 – by D.C. Councilman David Grosso to tax and regulate marijuana within the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, he knows that there is not likely to be much support for this bill – but he feels it’s important that he at least do what he can by introducing the bill regardless of whether or not it will be passed into law.
You would think that it would be a priority to D.C. – regardless of whether or not they, like so many others, are violating federal law – to regulate an industry that could be growing right under their feet. On the other hand, I can understand to a degree why lawmakers in the District are weary of defying the government, considering they are the nation’s capital.
However, when the majority of voters have spoken and those responses are in line with the majority of the country, it should at least push lawmakers to open a discussion rather than shutting it down right away.