Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Norton Vows to Defend D.C.’s Pot Legalization Initiative From Congress

Norton vowed to protect the legalization initiative, if passed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norton vowed to protect the legalization initiative, if passed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As pro-marijuana advocates had hoped, the D.C. Board of Elections voted unanimously Wednesday to put legalization on the November ballot.

The DC Cannabis Campaign is now rallying residents to vote “Yes on 71,” the initiative that would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, and cultivate up to three pot plants at any time.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., vowed to fight any congressional attempt to block the District from voting on the initiative and, if it is approved by voters, implementing it.

“We will not let history repeat itself,” Norton said in a statement on Wednesday. “Republicans tried to prevent D.C. from voting on an initiative in 1998 to legalize medical marijuana, and after voters approved it, blocked its implementation with an appropriations rider for more than 10 years.”

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., confirmed that the conservative congressman would try to block legalization in the District.

Norton said many Republicans “abandon their professed support of local control of local affairs when they have an opportunity to bully the residents of the District, who cannot hold them accountable at the ballot box,” and claimed she is already working with allies to protect the will of D.C. voters.

Supporters say that if the nation’s capital follows in the steps of of Colorado and Washington by legalizing marijuana, it would be the first jurisdiction to do so on the basis of racial justice. They claim D.C. has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the country and minorities are disproportionately affected.

A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital found that, in the District of Columbia — where roughly half the population is black — blacks are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than any other racial group. The study also fount that in 2010, 91 percent of all marijuana arrests in D.C. were of blacks.

If approved, the D.C. Council could look at ways to tax and regulate the drug. The ballot initiative does not legalize sales of marijuana.

  • concernedparentandtaxpayer

    Thank you, Ms. Norton, for standing with the American people on this. We can start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents’ home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing older. Let’s start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.

  • Janet Innes-Kirkwood

    Go on, and take that bunch of Republican Frothing Clowns on. I am just wondering if they are planning on bringing any more faux joints to work with them? That was pretty funny. But seriously we need to end the war on drugs and stand down the war on poor people…. There are way too many who have unnecessarily suffered over flowers that go up in smoke….

    • WBCarson

      Pot isnt causing the slaughter in our cities. Pot isnt causing young black men to shoot down fellow black men and pack the morgues with dead. The GOP isnt causing meth and heroin to flood across an open border and into the cities. The GOP isnt causing savage MS-13 gang members to move into black areas and start drug wars. Those people skin people alive and cut off heads. GOP do not control the ghettos in our cities, pack black citizens into them with poor education, violence, broken families and abortion clinics. The GOP isnt replaceing black Citizens as the new most Favored Mionority.

      • Janet Innes-Kirkwood

        What are you talking about. Many of our race and economic problems are historical and run through our society. The history of how America came to have ghettos? How America came to have racism in America? How we came to have wars in places like Afghanistan where the heroins coming from? Or the Big Pharmaceuticals pushing opiates? The militarization of the police is a while in the making and it is the weapons of the wars that Bush got us into. Look at that New World Order where they invested in endless wars and military and spy crap and not the people of America. Remember that GOP Trickle Down Theory? Went just like the failed wars. The Republicans are the party of haters and of big business and they do not have good policies especially when it comes to helping the poor and working class. It is a corrupt party bought out by the Steakhouse Oligarchs and it tries to blame our problems on immigrants and poor people and women’s reproduction but really it is the Crazy do nothing know nothing frothing Drunk Clowns and their billionaire friends that have no ideas and who are not the solution. Dreadful political party at this point. I am most angry at the oligarchs who are trying to destroy our country and political system with greed. The GOP are even worse that the Democrats who are also not very good. I would not imagine that they can govern at all as is the case every time they get in office. The one thing they are good for is entertainment. They do that frothing and chanting thing and roll faux joints and rally the Democratic base.

  • Republicans_are_Evil

    It is time to discard this old, obsolete law.

  • Simon Saez

    If this passes AND if Congress doesn’t try to stop its implementation, it will be the beginning of the end of the war on drugs (i.e hell for the poor and minorities).

  • frantterdaw

    Why not figure out how to exchange the prospects market? Do you understand its not difficult to make $500 for every day exchanging any of the fates market with our system? In case you’re searching for a fair approach to profit through exchanging come examine what we bring to the table you, simply Google Traders Superstore and you’ll understand.

  • Packard Day

    Great, just great!

    DC is filled with some of the most rotten schools in the country. Unemployment and future job opportunities for low skilled and low educated young Black men is dismal. Black violent crime, illegitimacy, theft, infant mortality, STD rates, and chronic addiction all lead the nation.

    But no worries Black men and women of Washington DC. Your elected representative Eleanor Holmes Norton is now fighting for your inalienable right to smoke doobies without further consequence of the law. D*mn!

    Could the grand wizard of the KKK do any better in permanently messing up an entire race?

  • SonofaGip

    Anything to distract from how the democrats are running this country into the ground.

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