D.C. Council clouds odds of simple marijuana legalization
The battle over the legalization of marijuana in D.C. is lighting up as the city approaches election day. Both campaigns are putting up fliers on streetlamps, covering the grass with signs, and creating slogans. While the polls look promising for legalization, with 65 percent of voters in favor, the actual implementation of the yes vote may be much hazier.
“I don’t expect Congress to sit back while the nation’s capital legalizes marijuana,” council member Tommy Wells said, according to The Washington Post. Wells has already helped pass District-wide decriminalization, but marijuana remains banned under federal law.
Even if the referendum passes, it must endure a 30-day review period in Congress before it can be implemented in D.C. At the very least, this review period should spark significant national discussion over marijuana’s national legal status.
Aside from the troublingly conservative national Congress, the D.C. Council itself will likely want to slow down the pace of legalization.
“I don’t want uncertainty to be out there in the streets and in the market, and the initiative as it is written doesn’t give us the certainty we need,” David Grosso, council member, said. “It may be easier to just delay the whole thing while we come up with the regulatory framework.”
Until the proper taxes and regulation system is in place, which could take as long as a year, non-medical marijuana will not be sold legally in D.C.
The referendum’s advocates, however, are encouraging the Council as hard as possible to move forward with legalization, at least its possession and cultivation measures.
“I can understand their mind-set on that,” Malik Burnett a legalization advocacy organizer said, according to The Washington Post. “But I don’t think they should in any way interfere in the will of the voters.”
Photo: Brett Levin