Despite Congressional Threats, D.C. Starts Marijuana Legalization


Washington, D.C., implemented marijuana legalization today, defying warnings from congressional Republicans who have argued that the city is acting illegally, Politico reports. “The law will go into effect one minute after midnight,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser, appearing with D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Attorney General Karl Racine and several members of the city council. In response to a stern letter co-authored by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) cautioning D.C. against moving forward with the law to legalize the home use and transfer of recreational cannabis, Bowser said: “Bullying the District of Columbia is not what his constituents expect, nor do ours.”

The mayor said that she and city officials would continue “good-faith discussions” with Chaffetz and other members of Congress to arrive at a possible solution and said she would be meeting soon with U.S Attorney Ronald Machen. Chaffetz and House Oversight Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said implementing D.C.'s Initiative 71 would be illegal, creating uncertainty about the fate of legal pot in D.C. and previewing a potential showdown between the city and the federal government. The dispute came at the end of an otherwise uneventful 30-day congressional review period during which lawmakers made little effort to stop the arrival of legal pot in the nation's capital.

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