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U.S. House Seeks Tightening of Washington D.C. Cannabis Restrictions

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives is seeking stronger restraints on Washington D.C.’s ability to reform marijuana laws, Tom Angell reports for

Current law says the District is not allowed to spend annual appropriations funding on “any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance.” This means that the District could technically spend money on marijuana reform if it was sourced from outside of a federal appropriation bill.

New language proposed in the House Appropriations Committee, however, changes the restrictions from blocking only appropriated money to any funds that are “available for obligation or expenditure by any officer or employee of the District of Columbia government” — this means that zero government-sourced funds, even contingency reserve funds, could be spent on establishing local cannabis regulations.

Washington D.C. voters passed a referendum to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in 2014 with a 70 percent super majority of the popular vote. City Council member David Grosso wrote in response to the Republican effort to squash the District’s autonomy, “I wish they would get a life and let D.C. elected officials … do our jobs.

Unsurprisingly, presidential preference lands on the side of D.C. autonomy, according to a statement issued yesterday. “The Administration strongly supports home rule for the District and the President has long called for authority allowing the District to spend its own local taxes and other non-Federal funds without congressional approval.”

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