Democratic Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington, D.C. has announced that she intends to introduce legislation next year that would legalize the sale of recreational cannabis in the nation’s capital. Bowser, who was re-elected to her position on Tuesday, sees the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections as an opportunity to implement a pot legalization measure already passed by voters.
Pot Already Legal In DC
In 2014, District voters approved a ballot measure that legalized the possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana. But Republicans in the House of Representatives have used their power over the District’s budget to prevent the local government from regulating and taxing cannabis to allow recreational sales. Under provisions of what is known as a ‘budget rider,” the city is prohibited from spending money on such activities. Medical marijuana was legalized in D.C. in 1998, but with congressional interference, the first cannabis dispensary did not open until 2013. Underground pop-up markets often provide a grey market source of pot in the city.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who will chair the committee overseeing District matters, have said they will oppose the rider in budget