Washington, D.C., residents are still high on the district’s big marijuana win, which saw voters overwhelmingly approving a ballot measure to legalize marijuana there last month. Initiative 71 sent D.C. down the same path of Washington and Colorado, which made pot legal in November 2012.
But unlike in Alaska and Oregon -- which also approved measures to allow the drug last month -- legalizing weed is up against some potentially major snags in the nation's capital that could result in the demise of the permissive new era for the district. The ballot measure would legalize the possession of up to 2 ounces of personal-use marijuana and three plants for growing at home in the city.
Shortly after Initiative 71 was passed, political observers noted that it was not all smooth sailing ahead for the city’s potheads. Because Washington is a district and not a state, the U.S. government is able to weigh in on the legalization plan, and the prospects are looking increasingly bad for its future.
Republican members of the House of Representatives stated almost immediately after the ballot initiative passed with the support of seven out of 10 D.C. voters that they would take steps to undermine the initiative, which cannot be implemented without the approval of Congress, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said, according to the Washington Post.
And now it looks like the upcoming vote to approve a federal spending bill could bring with it the death knell of the legalization dream for D.C., as the spending measure may include language that would stop it in its tracks by limiting city funding in key ways, the Post reported Tuesday.
Three sources who follow the issue told the Post that senators involved in negotiations over spending have agreed to include the language in the bill, signaling that its end may be nigh, as the Republican-led House looks poised to do the same.
“This is old-school, backroom, dirty politics,” Adam Eidinger, a leading Initiative 71 backer and one of the three Post sources, told the paper. “It is fundamentally undemocratic.”
If the provision is included to a final version of the federal spending bill that goes on to be approved by Congress, legal weed will be nothing more than a pipe dream for Washingtonians.