Marijuana Is at Center of Feud in Capital
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Marijuana Is at Center of Feud in Capital
Posted by CN Staff on July 14, 2014 at 12:42:31 PT
By Trip Gabriel
Source: New York Times
Washington, D.C. -- A law to make marijuana possession in the District of Columbia punishable by only a $25 ticket, one of the laxest drug laws in the nation, has ignited a feud between Washington’s mayor and a Republican House member days before it is to take effect.Mayor Vincent C. Gray urged district residents to boycott the beaches and resort towns of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, after its congressman moved to block the city’s marijuana-friendly law, claiming more teenagers will take up drug use.
“He is interfering with democracy in this city, and we want people to understand how we feel about it,” the mayor said in an interview. He pointed out that Maryland, like the district, decriminalized marijuana this year, and if the congressman, Representative Andy Harris, had been in the legislature, he would have been outvoted.A city of liberal voters, the district has long had prickly relations with conservative members of Congress who set up part-time housekeeping here and, thanks to the Constitution, get a big say in local affairs.“These are things people can’t even do in their own home states, and they use the District of Columbia to make an example out of us,” Mr. Gray said.City officials accuse federal lawmakers of grandstanding for voters back home or nationally.“There’s a long tradition of people trying to score points off of us,” said David Catania, a District of Columbia council member.In recent years, conservative Republicans have stopped the city from implementing a needle exchange program to slow the spread of H.I.V., a registry of gay domestic partners and medical marijuana. All eventually went forward, sometimes after a decade of obstruction.Mr. Catania accused Mr. Harris of seeking to enhance his bona fides in a campaign for leadership of the Republican Study Committee, a group that seeks to pull the House further right. The chairmanship opened in a House leadership shuffle after the primary defeat of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who resigned as majority leader. Mr. Harris, who is a physician, won his seat in 2010 after a State Senate career in which he was known for opposing late-term abortions, as well as X-rated movies at the University of Maryland.He denied a political motive in opposing marijuana decriminalization. “If I were looking to advance my position among the broad spectrum of Republicans, this is probably not the way to do it,” he said.His objection to the district’s law is because it reduces the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a $25 civil fine — a trivial sum, in his view, which he predicted would entice more teenagers to drug use. “One ounce can be almost 100 joints,” he said. “That is not a small amount.”“Society has some responsibility for protecting minors,” he added. “I think the D.C. law protects them in no way, shape or form.”The law passed in a 10-1 council vote in March. Supporters cited a study showing a racial disparity in enforcing marijuana laws: 90 percent of Washingtonians arrested on charges of possession were black, in a city where blacks are 50 percent of the population.Mr. Harris’s effort to block the law came in the form of an amendment to a spending bill, which passed the House Appropriations Committee. The rider would stop the district from using its tax revenues to enforce decriminalization. The measure must survive a full House vote and, in an unlikely scenario, a joint conference with the Democrat-controlled Senate.Attaching budget riders is a backdoor way for lawmakers to block local laws, an authority granted to Congress in Article 1 of the Constitution. The more straightforward, and rarely successful, path is a joint resolution of Congress overturning a district law. Because Congress has not moved to do that within the required window of 60 legislative days, the law is scheduled to take effect this week.If Mr. Harris’s rider later becomes law, it would make the city’s decriminalization a brief interlude.District officials, while acknowledging the constitutional authority of Congress, denounced its interference as undemocratic.“Shouldn’t the people of the District of Columbia in a democracy be permitted to make decisions?” Mr. Gray said. “We have more people in the District of Columbia than in the whole state of Wyoming or in Vermont. I can’t imagine Representative Harris feels he ought to interfere in the business of those two states.”Michael K. Fauntroy, a political scientist at Howard University who has written extensively on Washington home rule, said Congress has not stepped in as often in recent years as during a volatile period in the city’s management before 2000.“But it’s still a tinderbox, and it wouldn’t take much to get Congress back involved,” he said.One possible spark: The city’s move to go beyond marijuana decriminalization to full legalization. This week, activists presented signatures to qualify a referendum for the November ballot that would legalize possession of up to two ounces of pot for personal use and the right to grow three marijuana plants at home.Passage of the measure, Initiative 71, would put the city in the vanguard of pro-marijuana jurisdictions, including two Western states, Colorado and Washington, where legal retailers selling recreational marijuana opened this year.The District of Columbia’s referendum would not allow sales. But the prospect of marijuana plants bending to the sun in the windows of Capitol Hill rowhouses might prove too great a provocation to many lawmakers.“I think Congress would step in to overturn it,” Mr. Fauntroy said. “Especially if Republicans take control of the Senate.”However, in the face of a sweltering summer, it does not appear that many residents have heeded the mayor’s call to skip their traditional visits to the Eastern Shore beaches and bay towns in Mr. Harris’s district.“We had huge crowds in town for the Fourth of July,” said Donna Abbott, director of tourism for Ocean City, Md., a popular destination on the Atlantic Ocean.A version of this article appears in print on July 14, 2014, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Marijuana Is at Center of Feud in Capital. Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Trip GabrielPublished: July 14, 2014Copyright: 2014 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:   -- Cannabis  Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by Vincent on July 15, 2014 at 22:05:52 PT:
Guys like this numbskull, Rep. Andy Harris, never stop, now do they? They always gotta be showboating to their constituency. He sounds like some sort of bible-banger...he's against pot, he's against X-Rated Movies, he's he thinks that it's his mission to impose his views on everybody. I had some acquaintances like that...once they became "born-again", they start changing, and they begin talking like they're your enemy, all of a sudden. Once, I actually went with them to one of their "meetings".  I saw nothing but robots that night!  Those people are so brainwashed, it's scary.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on July 15, 2014 at 17:30:55 PT
Comment 1 and 2
From the article that Afterburner posted, the first paragraph reads "Researchers at the University of East Anglia in UK and colleagues have discovered previously unknown signalling platforms which are responsible for the drug's success in shrinking tumours."You'd think the next paragraph might say something about the plant being unprohibitied. Maybe that they need to get this plant growing everywhere. Maybe the next paragraph would mention the injustice of keeping the plant from humanity and animals. But no. A stunning stupidity is afoot. This is the next paragraph."It is hoped that the research co-led with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain could help develop a synthetic equivalent with anti-cancer properties."
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 15, 2014 at 05:38:38 PT
FoM #1
Interesting link, but they forgot to tell us which receptors. Here's another link: Cannabis compound can slow tumour growth.
LONDON, JUL 15, 2014 is familiar to some c-news readers & posters.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 14, 2014 at 13:48:17 PT
From The Independent UK
Scientists Reveal how THC – Found in Cannabis – ‘Could Slow Cancer Tumour Growth’July 14, 2014URL:
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