With efforts to decriminalize marijuana in the District of Columbia being received with open arms by the majority of the city’s council members, there is speculation that federal lawmakers may soon be forced to reconsider their overall stance on the legal status of marijuana in the United States.
While Congress has the power to swoop in and put the proverbial leashes on legislation and local initiatives approved by the council in Washington, DC, very few expect that Congress will intervene on the council’s decision to support decriminalization of marijuana in the district.
In fact, some advocates believe that the current persuasion taking place in DC aimed at relaxing pot punishments across the city, along with increased positive public opinion of legal pot and the potential for generating billions in tax dollars, may serve as a beacon of light for the legalization of recreational cannabis on a federal level.
“This is where you’re going to see federal movement coming in the next year or two,” said Erik Altieri, a representative for the Washington-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
With consideration to Washington, DC existing as the central war nerve for national marijuana reform, organizations like NORML and the DC Cannabis Campaign are kicking around the idea of introducing a ballot initiative for next year’s election in a push to get recreational marijuana sales passed in the district.
Approval of a retail pot initiative inside the nation’s capital would serve as a near knockout blow to the federal marijuana laws, and ultimately, force Congress to take a closer look at how to make regulation efforts work on a national level.