D.C. Remains on Cannabis Sales Sideline in New Omnibus Bill

D.C. Remains on Cannabis Sales Sideline in New Omnibus Bill

<![CDATA[Washington, D.C., residents will have to ride on without access to commercial cannabis sales for at least another year. Despite the district’s voters approving adult-use cannabis via Initiative 71 in the November 2014 election, a rider was introduced by Maryland U.S. Rep. Andy Harris the following year, which stripped the district’s power to regulate a retail industry within its roughly 68-square-mile borders. Commonly referred to as the Harris rider, the provision that blocks the district from taxing and regulating cannabis sales has been in place ever since. While there were hopes among district officials and industry advocates that a Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress would strip that provision this year, that wasn’t the case. Congress retained the rider in the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package, House Resolution 2741, which it unveiled March 9. Since the District of Columbia is not a state, Congress retains oversight on the city’s laws and can restrict how its officials use local funds. But certain elected officials in the district were not so thrilled about the rider retention, The Washington Post reported. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat who has introduced legislation to legalize cannabis sales in the district, told the news outlet that Congress “has set up for the district, with this rider, a public safety problem. I can’t be strong enough about this.” Mendelson pointed to a thriving illicit market that brings along criminal activity. Under current law, district residents 21 and older can possess, consume, home cultivate and gift cannabis, the latter of which has opened the door for differing interpretations of the term “gift” when it comes to charging for merchandise or memberships in exchange for “free” cannabis, which is not regulated or taxed. U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins expressed disappointment in Congress’ failure to act on cannabis reform for the…

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Source : D.C. Remains on Cannabis Sales Sideline in New Omnibus Bill

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