Five years ago, residents of Washington, D.C., voted on Initiative 71, which effectively legalizes the possession of low-level cannabis and indoor growing of marijuana. However, the sales of recreational cannabis remain impeded in Washington D.C.
The central part of the issue was that Washington D.C. was banned from utilizing local tax income to create a tax-and-regulate plan by Congress. As per Republican control, the legislative body merged a provision in federal budgets each year since 2014 that’s placed D.C. in space when it concerns the sale of recreational marijuana.
However, there are some lawmakers in D.C, who are solidly behind changing this law. Currently, Democrats make up the majority in the House of Representatives, where the regulator on federal budgets comes from, D.C. At the highest point, a Councilmember named David Grosso is seeing this as a chance to get Washington D.C out of this limbo once and for all.
According to Grosso’s statement in a press release, this status quo has resulted to a lot of confusion and controversial state of affairs with inhabitants and businesses not sure on the legality of cannabis or whether cannabis is legal or not and imagining if it’s officially legal to possess marijuana but not to buy or sell it. Grosso also stated that this issue needed to be fixed. The new actuality on Capitol Hill signifies that odds of marijuana legalization in Washington D.C. and the sales of legal marijuana in the state are lower than ever.
Grosso also gave credit to the successful passing of Initiative 71 with keeping residents of Washington D.C away from “unnecessary participation in the judicial system.”
According to Grosso, since voters in D.C. approved Initiative 71 which was meant to decriminalize the use and sale of recreational cannabis, the state has witnessed a lot of arrests related to marijuana, signifying thousands of people living in Washington D.C who were needlessly spared due to involvement in the judicial system. Grosso added that the critical next step is to continue to lessen marijuana-related convictions and to increase the popularity of marijuana by taking it out of the shadows. He also said that the state needs to establish a stable tax and regulatory system.
Since 2013, Grosso has launched a different form of his cannabis sales legislation in each council period. In the most recent version of the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act, he added new provisions aimed at sorting out the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs.
According to Grosso, the War on Drugs was a failure — it was incrementing the mass confinement problem and not aiding with the drug addiction problem. He also stated that information has also theoretically shown that the War on Drugs has been a form of racial abuse since its implementation. It’s an issue based on racial justice. It isn’t sufficient that these policies are changed, the negatively impacted communities also have to be proactively healed.
Co-introducers of the legislation will include Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Robert White, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau.