Obama Opposes Congressional Meddling in D.C. Legalization
December 12th, 2014
Policy, Top News
President Obama came out in opposition of a measure in a congressional spending plan that would block Washington D.C. from legalizing marijuana, although he stopped short of vetoing the $1.1 trillion plan over it.
“The administration has been a strong supporter of the District of Columbia getting statehood,” said White House Spokesman John Earnest. “We do not believe that Congress should spend a lot of time interfering with the ability of the citizens of the District of Columbia to make decisions related to how they should govern their community.
Supporters of the measure in Congress insist that they are acting to uphold federal law, which bans the use, possession, and sale of marijuana. Since they have control over the District of Columbia’s budget, they are able to directly interfere as opposed to their limited abilities to interfere in states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized the drug for adult-use purposes.
Washington D.C. voters passed the referendum in November by almost a 2-to-1 margin, legalizing possession of up to two ounces or three plants for personal use. With marijuana crackdowns unfairly focused on the African American population, critics of the prohibition believe that the measure is just as much a race issue, which is especially important given the significant economic divide in the district.
In the end, the President’s hands are likely tied, although it’s worth noting that many Democrats would have to have been on board with the rider to the $1.1 trillion spending bill in order for it to pass in the first place.
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