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Dems in Congress Opt to Keep Ban on Washington, D.C. Cannabis Sales |

Congressional Democrats determined this week to keep up a prohibition on hashish gross sales in Washington, D.C. regardless of earlier ideas that they had been ready to carry the ban and start permitting authorized gross sales. 

A drafted spending invoice that was unveiled on Wednesday by Home Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, nonetheless included the so-called “Harris Rider,” which has precluded the District of Columbia from commercializing weed, even if D.C. voters legalized leisure pot use again in 2014. Tied up on this challenge is the D.C. bid for statehood. 

Named for Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, the rider has been a fixture of each appropriations invoice because the passage of that legalization initiative. (The U.S. Congress oversees all legal guidelines within the District of Columbia.)

 So whereas D.C. adults aged 21 and older have been in a position to legally possess hashish for the final eight years, the dream of a regulated market within the nation’s capital has not been absolutely realized for hashish customers.

Politico defined that “D.C. residents are allowed to eat, develop and ‘reward’ hashish merchandise.” (“Gifting,” whereby a enterprise sells different objects after which “presents,” the client hashish has been a preferred work-around for pot sellers in jurisdictions the place gross sales are nonetheless unlawful.)

The event might be seen as a significant disappointment for hashish advocates, who’ve lengthy focused the elimination of the Harris Rider as a coverage goal. 

As Politico famous, the inclusion of the rider “got here as a shock to some advocates as a result of it was not included in funding packages put forth by the Home and Senate,”  though “President Joe Biden’s proposed funds did embrace the controversial provision.”

A 12 months in the past, with Democrats formally taking again management of Congress and Biden sworn in as president, the outlook for marijuana reform seemed brilliant. Nevertheless, that hasn’t essentially confirmed to be the case in the present day. 

Senate Democrats launched a model of their appropriations invoice in October, which notably didn’t embrace the Harris Rider.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser applauded the omission.

“The Senate appropriations invoice is a crucial step in recognizing that in a democracy, D.C. residents ought to be ruled by D.C. values,” Bowser’s workplace mentioned in an announcement on the time. 

“As we proceed on the trail to D.C. statehood, I wish to thank Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Senator Patrick Leahy, our good pal and Subcommittee Chair, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and, after all, our champion on the Hill, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, for recognizing and advancing the need of D.C. voters. We urge Congress to cross a last spending invoice that equally removes all anti-Dwelling Rule riders, permitting D.C. to spend our native funds as we see match.”

Final week, greater than 50 civil rights and hashish advocacy teams urged Congress to take away the Harris Rider.

In a letter despatched to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, amongst others, teams just like the Drug Coverage Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union famous that, due to its lack of statehood, D.C. “stays the one jurisdiction within the nation that can’t regulate marijuana gross sales or fruitfully faucet into the general public well being and security advantages of legalization.”

“In a single hand, Congress continues to make strides in advancing federal marijuana reform grounded in racial justice, whereas concurrently being liable for prohibiting the very jurisdiction that led the nation in legalizing marijuana by this lens from with the ability to regulate it. This battle and contradiction should finish now,” Queen Adesuyi, Senior Nationwide Coverage Supervisor for the Drug Coverage Alliance, mentioned in an announcement.