D.C. To Vote On Pot Legalization; Will Congress Block It?


Washington, D.C., residents will vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana use in the nation's capital after elections officials decided to place the question on the ballot, the Washington Post reports. The D.C. Board of Elections voted unanimously to approve the ballot initiative, certifying that activists gathered the tens of thousands of voter signatures necessary to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot. The vote moves the District closer to joining Colorado and Washington as the only places in the nation where marijuana possession and cultivation are fully legal.

“In a democracy, the voice of the people should be heard,” said Malik Burnett, a doctor and leader of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which said it collected more than 57,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. A Washington Post poll this year showed 63 percent support for marijuana legalization among District residents. The legalization effort could be complicated by efforts in Congress to forestall the city's efforts to liberalize its marijuana laws. A House budget bill passed last month included a provision to block not only a legalization effort but also a decriminalization bill passed by the D.C. Council this year that is in effect. Congress has blocked previous efforts to change the city's marijuana laws.

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