The DC Cannabis Campaign expects Initiative 71 to clear a mandatory congressional review period and take effect later this month. The ballot initiative, which legalizes the non-commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana to adults, was enacted with over 70% of the popular vote on November 4, 2014. According to the current legislative calendar, the new law’s provisions will take effect after the congressional review period ends on February 26, 2015.
“They can’t stop us now,” said DC Cannabis Campaign chair Adam Eidinger, who formally proposed Initiative 71. “The painkiller pushers and prison racketeers can buy all the politicians they want, but the real leaders of the District of Columbia have already made their decision to end marijuana prohibition.”
Congressional leaders have sought to block the District of Columbia from spending funds on marijuana legalization through a provision inserted in a recent appropriations bill. Although the spending rider cannot retroactively stop the enactment of Initiative 71, according to a recent letter by DC Attorney General Karl Racine, the measure would likely prohibit District officials from formally spending funds to take further action related to marijuana policy.
Citing warnings that councilmembers and staff faced potential imprisonment, the DC Council canceled a recent hearing on a separate bill to tax and regulate marijuana and instead held an informal roundtable discussion. DC councilmembers say their legislation is intended to complement Initiative 71 by providing a legal way to purchase marijuana. The legislation’s main backer, David Grosso, also noted at the roundtable event that arrests for marijuana sales continue to disproportionately affect people of color.
DC Cannabis Campaign officials expect Initiative 71 to be officially published as a law in the DC Register in early March. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has said she will uphold the new law.
The DC Cannabis Campaign is the official campaign committee for Ballot Initiative 71. The campaign is a project of residents from across the District of Columbia, Drug Policy Action, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.