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Marijuana Legalization Initiative 71 and Congress

Introduction

Marijuana legalization has become a popular, and well supported, topic. Currently, twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have laws in place for the legal protection of medical uses of marijuana [1]. Washington D.C. has gone as far as to have Marijuana Legalization Initiative 71 on their ballot this year. Initiative 71 received an impressive vote of about 70% approval for the initiative, leaving around 30% against. However, with such an overwhelming vote for Initiative 71, some government officials are still worried about Republicans and their plans to stop the acceptance of Initiative 71 as a law for D.C.

Marijuana Legalization Initiative 71

Marijuana Legalization Initiative 71 is an impressive stride in the efforts to legalize marijuana. For people over the age of 21, it allows the personal use of marijuana. Specifically, the legal amount of marijuana that a person can possess is two ounces. Initiative 71 allows for six cannabis plants within an individual‘s residence. Although people can have up to six plants, Initiative 71 states that up to three of the six plants can be mature (flowering stage) at any given time. People may transfer, but not sell, up to one ounce of marijuana to another person above the age of 21. This initiative also allows for using and selling drug paraphernalia in order to use, grow, or process cannabis or marijuana [2].

What’s Going On in Congress?

Democrats are trying to get Initiative 71 passed into law; whereas Republicans on the other side of the issue are trying to reject the initiative. One tactic that was rumored to be put in play was a deal struck between congressional lawmakers that would leave the marijuana decriminalization policy in place, but bars D.C. from using their funds to enact the legalization. The other rumored tactic is to hide Initiative 71’s spending plan within a larger plan that some Democrats would not be willing to accept. The included items that the Democrats would not agree with would chip away at health care, women’s rights and environmental policies [3]. The first rumor appears to be true, the spending bill, “prohibits both federal and local funds from being used to implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District” [4].

 

 

[1] http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881#DC

[2]http://ballotpedia.org/Washington_D.C._Marijuana_Legalization,_Initiative_71_%28November_2014%29

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/congress-dc-marijuana_n_6297046.html?utm_hp_ref=marijuana

[4] http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/finserv_press_summary.pdf




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