DC residents to vote on legalizing marijuana

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A marijuana legalization bill will show up on the November ballot in D.C.

On Wednesday morning, the District of Columbia Board of Elections passed the "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014."

The board ruled that Ballot Initiative 71 had enough signatures to qualify for the general election ballot in November. The ballot initiative allows people over the age of 21 to have up to two ounces of marijuana on them, give --but not sell -- up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults, and allows people to cultivate up to three marijuana plants.

See the summary here:


Last month, WUSA9 talked to the D.C. Cannabis Campaign. Campaign officials said they had collected twice the number of required signatures -- 57,000 -- in less than 75 days. They submitted the signatures to the Board of Elections. At least 22,373 valid signatures were needed from registered D.C. voters for the bill to go on the November ballot.

The D.C. Cannabis Campaign released a statement after the Board of Election's ruling Wednesday.

"It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that the citizens of the district would like to have a say in reforming the marijuana laws of the District," said Dr. Malik Burnett, Vice-Chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign and the DC Policy Manager for Drug Policy Action, in the statement. "The policies of prohibition in the District have been borne on the backs of black and brown men for decades, by voting YES on 71, District residents can put an end to this failed policy."

Read the campaign's full statement here: http://dcmj.org/

Earlier this year, Mayor Vincent Gray signed a decriminalization law that makes possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. Some Congress members are seeking to block the decriminalization law.

Tuesday morning, the office of D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton released a statement, saying she "would fight any congressional attempt to block the District from voting on the initiative and, if it is approved by voters, implementing it." According to Norton, the Office of Representative Andy Harris told Roll Call that he would try to block legalization.

"We will not let history repeat itself," Norton said in the written statement. "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. We are not surprised that Republicans are threating to again use the power of the federal government to block the will of the voters of a local jurisdiction. 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. We have already begun working with our allies to protect the will of D.C. voters."


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