Odds are Increasing That D.C. Will Vote on MJ

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  Odds are Increasing That D.C. Will Vote on MJ

Posted by CN Staff on June 30, 2014 at 05:32:31 PT
By Aaron Davis 
Source: Washington Post 

Washington, D.C. -- Sixteen years ago, D.C. activists gathered signatures to let voters decide if the District should be among the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Then Congress stepped in, and city officials were not even allowed to count the ballots that voters had cast.Inside a rented house in Northwest Washington, behind a shaggy bear skin rug strung up as a makeshift curtain and amid rollaway beds set up for signature gatherers who have come from as far away as California and Colorado, there’s growing anxiety that history is about to repeat itself.
Organizers for Initiative 71, a measure that would fully legalize possession of marijuana in the District, plan to announce this week that they are closing in on 60,000 signatures — a comfortable buffer over the 22,600 needed to ensure the measure qualifies for the November ballot.Having voters decide if the city should follow Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana seemed – at least until last week – like a logical progression in the District.District voters support legalization by a ration of 2 to 1, polls show. The city has medical marijuana dispensaries and is taking steps to soon loosen restraints and let doctors recommend the drug for any ailment. The D.C. Council even voted in March to decriminalize possession, making it a fine of $25, instead of a year-long jail term.But just weeks before those more lenient provisions were to take effect, House Republicans last week resurrected the kind of budget language that for more than a decade blocked the District from launching the medical marijuana program that voters had overwhelmingly endorsed.“It’s violating our rights as District residents, and I’m just afraid it’s going to happen all over again,” said Adam Eidinger, one of the chief organizers of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign. “If we can just get this on the ballot . . . then we’ll have a vote. That’s my immediate concern.”Whether the budget measure passed last week by House Republicans, which bans the District from spending any money to loosen penalties for pot, could become law remains unclear. But supporters now see it as a race against Congress to get the measure certified.Should federal lawmakers pass a spending plan with the restriction before Nov. 4, there is precedent for D.C. elections officials to decide that they are prohibited from counting votes on the issue.If Congress hasn’t passed a budget by then, however, there is a strong chance that on Nov. 4, the District will legalize pot.Popular support for legalization in the nation’s capital would hasten the arrival on Capitol Hill of a debate that has largely simmered in Western states. It would also present the District’s next mayor and council with a mandate to turn the initiative into a workable law, probably by regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis.On Friday, one of the city’s candidates for mayor, council member David A. Catania (I-At large), staged a campaign event on the issue, demanding a meeting with Rep. Andy Harris, the Maryland Republican who led the charge to upend the District decriminalization.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Aaron DavisPublished: June 29, 2014Copyright: 2014 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis  Archives 

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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on July 06, 2014 at 19:56:24 PT
If DC is able to go legal the place will be overflowing with “tourists” wanting to seen sights.
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Comment #6 posted by Universer on July 01, 2014 at 18:03:51 PT
Decide for Cannabis in the District of Columbia!
The notion that in a few short months, a locale merely 30 miles to my east could unequivocally demand the legal regulation of cannabis is tremendously exciting.If it's on the ballot, and if the votes to that ballot are counted, it will pass. Of that I am more certain than I am that legalization will pass Oregon or Alaska.I dare Congress to countermand the passage of this law. Double-dog super-dare. Such blatantly antidemocratic action would be inexcusably unAmerican, an arrogant crime laid bare for all to see, a miscarriage which neither liberal nor libertarian nor small-government/personal-liberty conservative could pragmatically get behind, no matter how many moral-tyrant social conservatives do.Congress either does nothing and it passes into law, or they raise ruckus and bring about the people's angry backlash.Go District! Go District! Get Green Get Green Go District!
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Comment #5 posted by Oleg the Tumor on July 01, 2014 at 08:35:43 PT:
The Evidence Mounts . . .
I'm not really sure whether this is good news or bad - but it is Evidence, any way you look at it. So its good news in that the pus-filled cyst currently called "Judicial Process" is breaking open publicly for all the world to see. What is needed is a compassionate response from Congress with a little common sense mixed in. But their investors (not me and you) have already taken the "dim view." It could get "bad" if The Government of the People, by the People, for the People, ignores all of us equally (again) and calls it "fair treatment"!As this Congress seems to be totally devoid of the brains that God gave geese, Americans should expect nothing further from this particular gaggle.The needs of the People as to Immigration reform, the Highway Transportation Bill and a dozen other pressing issues (like freeing the Prisoner of Schedule One, hey) languishes while both political parties focus on "Control" of the Federal purse instead of the taxpayers' welfare.  
Personally, I expect the bond market to collapse at any moment, citing lack of liquidity.  All the Players are leveraged to the hilt and nobody can made a bid.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on June 30, 2014 at 14:48:24 PT

This will be a great vote, and historic occasion, and nothing Congress can do will change that. If Congress interferes, they'll only marginalize themselves further as reform progresses. They already look pretty silly, when 10 states have legalized they'll look even sillier by trying to interfere and punish DC. This also reveals the racist underbelly of the WOD - DC is mostly african-american and they are being treated like serfs on a plantation by Congress.

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Comment #2 posted by runruff on June 30, 2014 at 10:33:56 PT

Change happens fast!
I am hearing on the grapevine that exported herb has dropped since California and Oregon have opened up public cannamarkets.Of course, why take a chance on losing your crop sending it to other states if you have a choice?Myself and my people have already started setting up in Cali and we have three dispensaries here in So. Oregon.We are BAD!
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on June 30, 2014 at 09:39:08 PT

I too have a lot of anxiety about this.The feds treatment of the people of DC was so wrong that time sixteen years ago... so against everything I had been taught to believe about our government and our way of deciding things. I was appalled and outraged. I still am at the thought of it.Bob Barr still looks like Simon Legree to me.
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