A key Senate committee passed a bill today allowing the nation’s capital to establish regulated marijuana stores and let banks provide financial services to state-legalized marijuana dispensaries. These are just two of several marijuana reforms advancing in Congress. Meanwhile sentencing reform is gaining steam, and the U.S. is shifting towards treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.
23 states have legalized marijuana for medical use — and an additional 16 states have legalized CBD oils, a non-psychotropic component of marijuana that has proven uniquely effective in managing epileptic seizures that afflict children. Four states have legalized marijuana like alcohol — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Last November nearly 72 percent of voters in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, approved a ballot measure making it legal to possess and grow marijuana for personal use.
Congress allowed D.C. to legalize marijuana but prohibited the city from legalizing and regulating marijuana sales. Thus, it is legal to possess, use, and grow marijuana in the nation’s capital but the sale of marijuana remains illicit and unregulated. This has prevented the city from establishing age restrictions and other sensible controls. Fortunately, a spending bill advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee today eliminates the congressional ban, allowing D.C. policymakers to tax and regulate marijuana. [Read more at the Huffington Post]