President Obama says marijuana policy is a States’ Rights issue
The Obama administration released a statement Monday saying that marijuana policy is a States’ Rights issue in response to efforts by members of congress to block a marijuana penalty reduction law in Washington, D.C.
The GOP-sponsored amendment would prevent D.C. “from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ Rights and of District home rule,” the White House said in a statement.
D.C. is governed by an elected city council, however congress has control over the capital’s funding.
Under the new law, those caught with small amounts of marijuana would no longer go to jail and instead face a $25 fine and forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia used to consume or carry it.
Some say that by preventing D.C. from using funds to carry out the law, congress may have just de-facto legalized marijuana in the nations capital since law enforcement would not be able to arrest or prosecute anyone for marijuana-related offenses.
Four Texas representatives voted for the amendment, which was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee, including three Republicans, which are John Carter of District 31, John Culberson of District 7, Kay Granger of District 12, and Texas’ sole Democrat on the committee, Henry Cuellar of District 28.
This new policy position from the Obama Administration comes in the midst of the Food and Drug Administration announcing that they will re-evaluate the scheduling of marijuana on behalf of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Ultimately, either congress or President Obama could order the DEA to reschedule cannabis.
There is also a campaign to legalize marijuana in D.C., which just finished collecting more than twice the signatures it needs to make the ballot in November. Activists are concerned that congress could further impede that progress as well though.
By: Stephen Carter
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