Congressís Double-Edged Marijuana Stance
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Congressís Double-Edged Marijuana Stance
Posted by CN Staff on December 11, 2014 at 06:55:49 PT
New York Times Editorial
Source: New York Times
Washington, D.C. -- A bold stride in the popular campaign to legalize marijuana ó an amendment blocking federal interference with states that allow medical marijuana ó has been written into the bipartisan budget spending bill thatís now being rushed through Congress. At the same time, this clear victory for the pro-marijuana movement nationally has been coupled with Congressís outrageous rebuff of the will of District of Columbia residents, who voted overwhelmingly last month to join the growing state move to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana.
Rarely has the ďplantationĒ oversight powers long exploited by Congress to checkmate home rule in Washington been indulged with such blatant contrast. On the national level, the omnibus money bill blocks Justice Department spending on efforts to counter medical marijuana laws passed so far by 23 states plus the District of Columbia (which, of course, has been blocked from helping patients the past 11 years by an earlier retrogressive spending rider tailored only for the district).Another amendment in the spending bill welcomed by marijuana proponents prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration from blocking implementation of a law passed last year by Congress permitting hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research. But the rider in the budget deal, cut by negotiators for the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate, draws the line against any spending federally or locally to carry out Initiative 71, by which District of Columbia voters endorsed up to 2 ounces of legal pot possession as well as the cultivation of three pot plants at home. Similar initiatives received voter approval in November in Oregon and Alaska, but Congress has no thumbs-down power of review to block their legalization, as it does for the district.The legalization campaign showed how criminal laws left black district residents far more likely than whites to face charges for simple possession, even though both groups used marijuana at roughly similar rates. When it votes on the spending bill, a fair-minded Congress would honor the District of Columbia initiative as a matter of justice and democracy, not rushed and shoddy deal-making.A version of this editorial appears in print on December 11, 2014, on page A32 of the New York edition with the headline: Congressís Double-Edged Marijuana StanceSource: New York Times (NY)Published: December 11, 2014Copyright: 2014 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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