DC mayor wants Congress to get out of the way so she can legalize cannabis

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Mayor Muriel Bowser says cannabis legalization will happen if Congress steps aside

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser says she is more than ready to proceed with legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana in the nation’s capital. To that end, in February, Bowser introduced a cannabis commerce bill which is now being seriously considered by members of the District Council. However, she needs one hurdle to move before more progress can be made.

During an interview, Bowser was asked about the competing pieces of legislation, to which she responded, “I think we’re ready from our end. We have a tax-and-regulates scheme. We’ve prepared our alcohol and beverage office to be prepared to implement regulation. And we have to get the hurdle of Congress out of the way.”

It is known that, since 2014, DC voters had the power to legalize cannabis possession, as well as home cultivation. However, according to a Congressional rider, the proceeds from local taxes could not be used under any circumstances to create a regulated marijuana market. This measure is expected to change soon because the Democrats now have absolute power in both Chambers, as well as the White House.

District Council President Phil Mendelson also introduced a proposal very similar to the mayor’s last month. According to its details, both would build on the District’s 2014 law in order to create a regulated market with a focus on social equity. However, with respect to licensing, the way in which revenue is allocated, and the tax rate, there are still several discrepancies.

Many activists disagree with several of the proposals included in Bowser’s bill. One of those provisions, in particular, includes limiting the amount of cannabis a person can possess after growing the plant at home.