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Senate Democrats Remove Spending Bill Provision That Blocked D.C. From Legalizing Marijuana Sales

A package of spending bills unveiled by a U.S. Senate committee on Monday evening does not include language that had prohibited D.C. from legalizing the sale of marijuana for the last six years, lifting a significant roadblock to the city’s plans to legalize and license dispensaries to sell the drug for recreational use.

Earlier this summer the House of Representatives had similarly done away with what was long known as the Harris Rider, named after Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). Approved by Republican majorities in Congress shortly after D.C. voters legalized the possession, personal use, and home cultivation of small amounts of marijuana in 2014, the Harris Rider prohibited the city from moving forward on any efforts to further legalize recreational sales.

President Joe Biden kept the rider in his budget proposal to Congress, but Democrats in both chambers removed it. The fight isn’t over yet, though — Congress still has to approve the budget, which is likely to happen in December. Once that happens, D.C. will be clear to move forward on legalizing sales, and lawmakers are already planning to hold a hearing in November on a bill that would do just that. [Read more at DCist]

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