Trump budget seeks to change marijuana legalization in DC

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The measure seeks to scale back on legislation for the legal marijuana industry

Voters in the District of Columbia (DC) legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. However, there is no legislation in place that allows for marijuana to be legally sold in the district, except for medical marijuana dispensaries, because lawmakers have repeatedly blocked attempts by DC councilmembers and Mayor Muriel Bowser to introduce the necessary legal policies. Congress, in 2017, also made it more difficult when they closed a potential loophole that could have been used to support legalized marijuana. The lack of a legal marijuana industry in DC could soon change, though, as President Trump is resorting to his control over the budget to try to relax marijuana legislation for DC.

For the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Trump is asking Congress to change the language it restricted in 2017 in order to leave the loophole on the table. As it relates to DC’s marijuana industry, his budget proposal reads:

“SEC. 809. (a) None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.

“(b) None of the funds contained in this Act may be used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative for recreational purposes.”

Given the past history between Trump and Congress, his efforts will certainly find resistance. However, as marijuana continues to find more support across the country, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are going to be forced to change their stance and start to back more legalization.


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