D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced legislation Thursday to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana dispensaries in the nation’s capital, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government.
The District’s marijuana laws are in limbo. Residents can legally grow and possess small amounts of the drug under a 2014 voter-approved law. But they cannot legally purchase pot, and the city cannot tax sales because of a provision in the federal budget that prohibits the District from enacting or enforcing marijuana legalization laws.
Advocates have been hopeful that Congress would strip the anti-marijuana language — which originated with House Republicans — from the federal budget now that Democrats control the House. But it is unclear whether the next spending plan will pass before the 2020 elections.
The mayor wants to get moving on legalization before then.
“We want to be able to regulate, we want to be able to make sure we are collecting our fair share in taxes, we want to invest those taxes in ways that affect communities that have been disproportionately affected, and we want to train and hire D.C. residents,” Bowser said in a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post at a medical marijuana cultivation center. [Read more at The Washington Post]