Best Time to Remove Anti-Home-Rule Runners in Congress for the District of Columbia Now

Two weeks ago, the District of Columbia’s struggle to regulate marijuana turned an historic tide. For the first time, the DC Council held a public hearing on legislation to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana for adult use. For seven years, almost 65% of Washingtonians voted in favor of Initiative 71 (I-71), a campaign that has led the nation to center racial justice and fairness as important reasons to end the criminalization of marijuana. As part of this initiative, it’s legal for adults 21 and older to own, grow, and share small amounts of marijuana. Despite widespread support to end the local war on marijuana and urgent calls to explore what fairness and justice looks like after legalization, the district has continued to be barred from taking action to move forward with it. regulation of adult marijuana use.

The block is due to a congressional appropriation rider, which prohibits the district from using its local funds to tax or regulate sales of adult marijuana. Every year since passing I-71, Congress has included that horseman, known as Cavalier Harris, who ended the real benefits of public health and justice reform promised by the campaign.

Over the past few years, I have worked diligently with dozens of national and local advocacy organizations to remove the rider. For the first time since passing I-71, we were successful in having the rider withdrawn from the pending versions of the 2022 DC Appropriation Bill in the House and Senate. With the DC Council hearing two weeks ago, I hope that my efforts to remove the endorsement from DC’s final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022 will finally allow the DC Council to pass legislation that legalizes the marketing of marijuana for adult use.

The district has experienced far too many preventable public health and safety issues due to the lack of a regulated market. The hearing allowed DC board members to discuss equitable ways of approaching marketing in the district, with special attention to communities of color and low-income people who are disproportionately affected by the war on Drugs.

DC residents want and deserve to see the benefits of a regulated market for adult-use marijuana, such as the entry of entrepreneurs into the marijuana industry and the creation of jobs and economic development in the world. district level. The 18 states that voted in favor of marketing adult marijuana benefit from the revenues it generates. Last year, the House demonstrated its support for economic development and restorative justice through the commercialization of marijuana at the federal level by passing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. Now we have the historic opportunity to follow the spirit of the DC Local Self-Government Act and allow the district to do the same. It is time for the District to have the full legislative capacity to carry out the will of its residents.

Congresswoman Norton has long been a proponent of removing the credit jumper that prevents the District of Columbia from spending local funds to regulate marijuana.

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