Here is the text of a letter to DC Councilman Grosso, which I emailed to him today:
Hi, Councilman Grosso. I have been following your fight for DC’s right to self-determination for some time and am a huge supporter. I hope you realize that your support extends far beyond the District!I read with interest an article in US News that you intend to move forward with regulated sales. I do not believe this behavior is actually in violation of Federal law. For example, let’s look at this snippet of a recent spending bill that you may have glanced at before:
(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.
Notice that the council cannot enact a law or regulation to legalize cannabis or reduce penalties for it. But the law does not prohibit the district from enacting laws or regulations that increase penalties. And since Congress is unlikely to approve a joint resolution in the next 30 days to stop Initiative 71 and the President is even less likely to sign it if they do, cannabis is already legalized in DC. All that’s left now is for the District to crack down with, um, tough new restrictions.
- You can increase penalties for distribution of cannabis by adults to minors. (Not even a Republican from Maryland can argue with that.)
- You can increase penalties for distribution of cannabis without a license.
- You can increase penalties for distribution of edibles that do not adhere to specific requirements to be determined by regulations.
What you cannot do is actually repeal and District penalties for the distribution of cannabis but you can establish a policy in which those penalties will only be enforced in situations which are not in keeping with the spirit of a “crackdown” along the lines suggested above.
Anyway I thought you might find this idea useful in whole or in part. Please be advised that I wish you and the rest of the District a happy 2015 and the best of luck in your future dealings with the new Congress.