Recreational Pot Users are Legally Lighting Up
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Recreational Pot Users are Legally Lighting Up
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2015 at 09:56:30 PT
By Noah Bierman
Source: Los Angeles Times
Washington, D.C. -- Recreational pot supporters in the nation’s capital lit up in their homes in the early hours Thursday to celebrate the first day of legal marijuana in the District of Columbia.Many were toking as they normally do, said Zack Pesavento, press officer for the DC Cannabis Campaign, which led a successful referendum on recreational pot in November. “Now, they just don’t have to worry about getting arrested for it.”
Pesavento said his organization did not have an official celebration, in keeping with the spirit of the law, which allows smoking marijuana in small amounts at home.“The mayor has done exactly what she was elected to do, which is uphold the will of the people,” said LaToya Foster, spokeswoman for Mayor Muriel Bowser. “What happens next we just have to wait and see, but right now the mayor has made it clear that at 12:01 this morning, the law went in effect.”But by the time the chaos over implementing the marijuana law is settled, most everyone in the District of Columbia--which brought America government shutdowns and all-night filibusters--might wish they were smoking some.Residents voted overwhelmingly in November to allow growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana. But Congress, using its oversight authority over the nation’s capital, inserted a provision into a massive December spending deal that prevented the local government from enacting the law.A dispute over the meaning of “enact” has left a significant haze of uncertainty over what exactly is legal. It has also sparked a standoff between Bowser, the Democratic mayor, and the Republican-led Congress, which has made oblique threats of jailing city officials if they proceed with legalization.The situation highlights the constant tension over autonomy in this city of largely liberal voters that is overseen by an increasingly conservative Congress. The local issue also holds symbolic value in the national battle over marijuana laws, given the district’s position as the headquarters in the war on drugs.“We’re the nation’s capital, so I feel like it just makes people uneasy,” said Ellen Bloom, a 24-year-old resident who said she voted for legalization but does not smoke pot. Bloom was strolling through Lafayette Park, a few hundred yards from the White House, on Wednesday. “Maybe it’ll set the stage for the rest of the country, if D.C. has it legalized.”Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the committee that oversees the district, warned city officials in a letter Tuesday that they would be “in willful violation of the law” if they moved forward with legalization.His letter, also signed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), announced an investigation and demanded a list of city employees “who participated in any way in any action related to enactment” in crafting the city’s marijuana guidelines released this week.But legalization advocates and city officials argue that they are simply carrying out a law that voters enacted. At least one pro-marijuana lobbyist said his side worked to prevent stricter language in the December spending law that allies felt could have gone further to hamstring the city.And Congress failed to use its specific authority to overturn the marijuana law within an official review period, which expired Wednesday.Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s nonvoting delegate in the House, was furious over what she called “unnecessarily hostile congressional reactions.”“There could be a good-faith disagreement over the language here,” said Norton, who supports legalization and says she helped the city with its legal interpretation. “That’s all there is. And baseless threats won’t heal it.”Norton, a Democrat, says her support is based on studies showing minorities have been disproportionately marked with criminal records. She insists the district is not trying to defy Congress, even as many residents complain that its authority over local matters is overbearing.“We understand their authority,” she said. “We understand it so well we want to get statehood so they don’t have that authority.”The fight with Congress has prevented the City Council from studying more specific regulations, or crafting ways to allow legal pot sales, as Colorado and Washington state have done. Alaska, which this week became the third state to legalize pot for recreational use, also lacks regulations to create a legal pot market. (Oregon voters legalized pot in November, but it won’t become legal there until July.)The bare-bones rules released by Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier on Tuesday were intended to make clear that pot possession is restricted to less than two ounces and is legal only for adults over 21.Marijuana cannot be sold, nor can it be used in public. Driving while high also remains illegal. Marijuana is already decriminalized in the district, so Bowser characterized legalization as an incremental step.A city website poses a number of questions in Q&A format, including whether D.C. is “going to be like Amsterdam” (no) and whether one “can eat a marijuana brownie at a park” or bus stop (also no).But there are plenty of unanswered questions, including whether the plants themselves can be grown outside on private property and where a law-abiding citizen might obtain the means to grow them.“I don’t know of a way to legally get the seeds,” said Aaron Houston, a strategist for Weedmaps, a consumer website that tracks marijuana sales. “It’s possible some activist will take the risk of just preemptively distributing the seeds on their own.”City leaders want to prevent marijuana clubs from forming, but have not yet passed an ordinance to ban them.There is also a question of federal regulation in a city that has multiple law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction.“When Colorado legalizes marijuana, there’s a buffer of Rocky Mountains and eastern Plains,” Houston said. “Here, the DEA or the FBI only have a few blocks to go.”Opponents of legalization say those on the other side of the debate may be overplaying their hand in Washington, particularly if the council attempts to set up a legal distribution system and collect taxes, as some have advocated.“I don’t think Congress, especially this Congress, is just going to roll over and play dead,” said Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three presidents who is executive director of the anti-legalization group called SAM.He added: “I find it a little astonishing that the collective group-think on this has been that D.C. residents really want a marijuana store down the street from their kids’ school.”Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Noah BiermanPublished: February 26, 2015Copyright: 2015 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on February 27, 2015 at 18:08:41 PT
Oh, the dizzying pace of progress! 
Lol!It do go slow.
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Comment #9 posted by Oleg the Tumor on February 27, 2015 at 07:12:31 PT
Strange quote, inconsiderate of ballot initiative
“I don’t think Congress, especially this Congress, is just going to roll over and play dead,” said Kevin Sabet, a former advisor to three presidents who is executive director of the anti-legalization group called SAM.Washington DC as a whole, is in very serious jeopardy of portraying the American democratic "experiment" as an ongoing fraud where the ballot can be made irrelevant by the party in power, whoever that might be.As the US cannabis situation unfolds on the world stage, the term "Laughingstock" should appear more and more in the world press, with causes cited.One complaint, of "Taxation without Representation" has been replaced by another, "Fraudulent Representation Against the Interests of the Taxpayer."Now here is an interesting quote:"Don't you think that the Cabal have reported that I declared in a public house in Philadelphia that it was high time for the people to rise, join General Washington and turn Congress out of doors?"The date - September 11, 1779. The speaker? 
Alexander Hamilton!As true now as it was then. Oh, the dizzying pace of progress! 
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on February 26, 2015 at 19:54:53 PT
"The District of Cannabis"
That's a good one, Schmeff!And yes, poor Kevin is so easily astonished and frightened.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on February 26, 2015 at 19:40:54 PT
This is a strange legalization....
I hope the citizenry handles this newly returned freedom gracefully. 
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on February 26, 2015 at 19:38:19 PT
I just realized where Sabet's group think thinking
comes from. He's a professional propagandist. He tries to orchestrate and cause "Group think".Aaargh. He's just dripping with arrogance and condescension. 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on February 26, 2015 at 17:37:44 PT
Kevin Sabet
He is such a liar and just makes stuff up. Constantly!He just made up that "Collective group think" crap and starts spouting it like it's something real. Aaargh. He's a pretty revolting development in and of himself. 
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Comment #4 posted by schmeff on February 26, 2015 at 11:38:45 PT
Sabet's Babbling Everywhere
Quinn the Eskimo sez Kevin knows jack about native Americans.Kevin Sabet, told the Los Angeles Times, “native Americans and their families suffer disproportionately from addiction compared to other groups. The last thing they want is another commercialized industry that targets them for greater use.”
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Comment #3 posted by schmeff on February 26, 2015 at 10:54:51 PT
The Babble of Sabet
“I find it a little astonishing that the collective group-think on this has been that D.C. residents really want a marijuana store down the street from their kids’ school.”Sabet would probably be astonished by sliced bread. The District of Cannabis hasn't approved marijuana stores - Sabet can't even think for himself, let alone decipher the will of D.C. voters.Do you think there are any liquor stores down the street from their kids' schools?Only a lying propagandist like Sabet would try to scare people about cannabis - over a hundred times less dangerous than alcohol. Sabet gets paid to be stupid. 
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Comment #2 posted by observer on February 26, 2015 at 10:43:19 PT
But think of the Children !
Sabet: He added: “I find it a little astonishing that the collective group-think"Hey: if there ever was one to grok collectivized group-thinking, one who worms his way up the carcass of government, right up there in the ONDCP (the anti-pot government propaganda department), would be good at collectivizing and group-thinking. Sabet: "on this has been that D.C. residents really want a marijuana store down the street from their kids’ school.”Oh right - how did that slip our minds? There is a magical, wicked, evil force which oozes out of marijuana. So evil and wicked is this marijuana, that the presence of marijuana (in a store where kids cannot buy cannabis) surely would be a corrupting influence on the "kids".Don't you see?That pharmacy "down the street from their kids’ school” which sells Vicodin, oxycodone, and Soma: no problema! That cop-shop down the street - hey, when that cop shoots one of those kids (the kids was black, and wore a hoodie). Tragic, maybe (for the hero police officer who was forced, forced to shoot the hoodie kid because DARE Officer Friendly there was scared, scared), but nothing for prohibitionists like Sabet to make a peep over. But, (Oh My Lord!) let marijuana be legally sold by adults, to adults, who, desiring to work legally within "the system" and got pot legalized, according to the legalistic rules set up by The System, then, Oh My Word, what about the kids?Why anyone (besides the MSM/Mockingbird controlled media) would give Sabet the time of day, is curious. Then again, the LA Times has always been a part of that so no real surprises there.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 26, 2015 at 10:38:37 PT
How do You support Your rock n roll lifestyle?
How many people have been caged in DC alone for using the God-given plant cannabis?How many, what percentage of that number are non-white?What cannabis prohibitionists who spend one moment to stop DC are really doing is saying they want to continue caging black and brown people in the nations capitol.Does anyone believe if the people being caged were white, that this would still continue?Cannabis prohibition originated in part to attack minorities and as long as it continues successfully doing that job, it will stay on the racist's books.-unless citizens stand up and stop the bigots! Racism for profit is the name of their game.
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