D.C.'s New Attorney General Says Congress Has Not Blocked Legal Marijuana in the Nation's Capital


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Karl Racine, the newly elected attorney general of Washington, D.C., says a congressional spending restriction aimed at stopping the District from legalizing marijuana does not actually accomplish that. Although the rider will prevent the D.C. Council from licensing and regulating marijuana businesses, Racine says, it cannot nullify Initiative 71, the ballot measure that eliminates penalties for possession, sharing, and home cultivation. That's because the rider applies only to enactment of Initiative 71, which happened the day voters approved it.

"We think Initiative 71 was basically self-enacted, just as the congresswoman does," Racine told The Washington Post, referring to Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting congressional delegate. "We think there's good support for that position, and we're going to support that position." Racine thus agrees with Norton, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and leading Democrats in the House that Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) made a fatal error when he narrowed his rider so that it barred the District from spending money to "enact" rather than "enact or carry out" marijuana legalization.

Harris claims the amendment, which is part of the omnius spending bill approved by Congress a few weeks ago, "prevents the ultimate enactment of the ballot initiative." But under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, the initiative takes effect automatically unless Congress passes a joint resolution rejecting it no later than 30 legislative days after Mendelson officially submits it for review, which he plans to do next month. In the unlikely event that Congress passes a resolution and President Obama signs it before the review period expires, the resolution "shall be deemed to have repealed" the initiative, which seems inconsistent with Harris' position that the initiative has not really been enacted yet.

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  1. For once, I agree with some DC insider statist scums.

    Fuck you Andy Harris, with a big thorny cactus plant.

    But, seriously, I agree. The initiative was passed. 2 oz of weed and 6 plants, legal. No spending required. The people have spoken, you old fuckheads. Get over it.

  2. The argument probably turns on the semantics of various statutes, etc., namely, whether Congress has 30 days to “repeal” an initiative (in which case, the initiative is now fully enacted), or 30 days to “reject” (or somesuch) an initiative.

    The key language seems to be:

    If a majority of the registered qualified electors voting in a referendum approve an act or adopt legislation by initiative, then the adopted initiative or the act approved by referendum shall be an act of the Council upon the certification of the vote on such initiative or act by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, and such act shall become law subject to the provisions of section 602 [D.C. Code 1-233(c)].

    such act shall take effect upon the expiration of the 30-calendar-day period . . . beginning on the day such act is transmitted by the Chairman . . . unless during such 30-day period, there has been enacted into law a joint resolution disapproving such act. In any case in which any such joint resolution disapproving such an act has, within such 30-day period, passed both Houses of Congress and has been transmitted to the President, such resolution, upon becoming law, subsequent to the expiration of such 30-day period, shall be deemed to have repealed such act, as of the date such resolution becomes law.

    I don’t see a lay-down win for either side in that mess.

    1. Since when would a lawyer want the clarity that would foreclose a legal challenge?

  3. Andy Harris (R-Md.) made a fatal error when he narrowed his rider so that it barred the District from spending money to “enact” rather than “enact or carry out” marijuana legalization.

    I don’t see how it costs anything to carry out not arresting, trying or punishing people for possession or growing.

    1. Ya but what about spending money to setup a taxing scheme for weed sales?

      1. I thought the DC thing didn’t do that. Or does that kick in after a certain time passes?

        Maybe they could borrow against future tax revenues. Does that count as spending? Or get volunteers to do it. That would be funny, though of course I’d rather skip that part entirely.

        And though it’s far from perfect, I’d be pretty happy with possession and growing legal.

      2. AFAICT, this means they can’t spend money on a licensing regime, which means no licenses will be required.

      3. This is what going to bother people – DC city council and congress alike – the ‘OMG there’s no *regulatory scheme*!’ bit.

    2. It doesn’t. It seems, or at least in logical thinking, that this would only apply to spending tax dollars to set up a regulatory structure for legal business sales. There is no cost to legalization for private use.

    3. I don’t see how it costs anything to carry out not arresting, trying or punishing people for possession or growing.

      If you believe that marijuana is a blight on society, then the cost is seen as unwed mothers, welfare and high crime. And Jazz musicians impregnating your white daughter.

      1. That was either sarcasm or its the silliest thing I’ve read all year!
        Get a clue you’re overdue

  4. Ah yes, another problem that would go away if DC and Congress would enact a Lateran Treaty. Along with that pesky taxation without representation thing.

  5. Catholic SoCon Celebrates Tories Re-Criminalizing Prostitution

    “The Conservative government in Canada is far from perfect, but sometimes it lives up to its ideals, and so to fill the legal void, the Harper Conservatives passed into law Bill C-36, which criminalizes the purchase of sex, but not its sale…Has the Supreme Court of Canada or the Premier of Ontario stopped to think about how awful prostitution really is?

    Aside from the fornication and adultery, aside from the desecration of the sacred, aside from the banalization of longing and romance, aside from poisoning the wellspring which has been so fruitfully repressed, sublimated and transformed, there is something so bifurcating and self-destructive about prostitution.”…..-tv-desert

  6. Dude you know that is going to sound good right?

  7. This is like the best of both worlds. It’s legal, but they can’t tax it/license it.

  8. I didn’t believe …that…my friends brother woz like realie bringing in money part time from there new laptop. . there uncles cousin haz done this less than twenty months and by now paid the mortgage on their house and got a great new Lancia Straton .
    see this site :::::—–

  9. Let’s see how small gvt, individual, and states rights Congress is. ( Yes, DC isn’t a state but to use Fed law to stifle what the people chose via an election, pretty much ends any claim that they meant what they said. )

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