Biden Proposes To Keep Blocking Marijuana Sales In D.C. In Budget Despite Calling For New Approach To Cannabis
Even as the Biden administration works to promote the idea of taking a new approach to marijuana policy, the president is again proposing to keep banning Washington, D.C. from allowing cannabis sales. While President Joe Biden’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2024 does maintain a long-standing appropriations rider to prevent Justice Department interference in state- and territory-level medical cannabis programs that advocates support, they are dismayed to see D.C.’s autonomy on marijuana commerce is being targeted by the president for the third year in a row. The budget appendix, released on Monday, also proposes to keep riders intact to safeguard the legal hemp industry from federal intervention and to restrict funding for the promotion of legalizing Schedule I drugs. For advocates, the president’s consistent refusal to request lifting the D.C. cannabis provision—which has prevented the District from using local tax dollars to implement a system of adult-use marijuana sales—is particularly disappointing. D.C. voters approved cannabis legalization at the ballot in 2014, but the rider from Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) has represented a major obstacle that has kept local lawmakers from enacting commerce legislation that’s been put forward over recent years. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has been particularly critical of the administration for simultaneously expressing support for the District’s statehood while actively undermining its sovereignty with respect to marijuana policy. While the Harris rider was kept in the 2024 budget request, Biden did again propose to remove language that has blocked the city from using its funds to provide abortion services. This latest proposal also comes after Congress voted to overrule a recently enacted D.C. law to significantly revise the jurisdiction’s criminal code—an action supported by the president that’s similarly generated criticism from statehood advocates. Both the House and Senate had omitted the marijuana rider in their respective versions of appropriations legislation…
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