Even though US President Barack Obama thinks marijuana in his own backyard is a good idea, he’ll have to travel somewhere else to spark up a bong. Buried in Thursday’s gigantic spending bill in the US Congress was a measure to thwart attempts to legalise weed in Washington, DC.
In November, residents of the US capital voted to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes, joining similar measures in Colorado, Washington State, Alaska and Oregon. But since Congress holds some jurisdiction over the city, the measure needs to be approved by them first.
A rider in the spending bill blocks any money to the Washington, DC city council to “enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalise or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution” of marijuana, effectively killing legalisation. Perhaps the thought of cannabis-induced, New Age hippies gesticulating outside their front door was just too much for many federal lawmakers.
For Republican Congressman Andy Harris, who led the anti-pot crusade, it was something else. “Numerous studies show the negative impact regular recreational marijuana use has on the developing brain and on future economic opportunities for those who use this illegal drug,” Harris told DC Dispatches. “I am glad Congress is going to, in a bipartisan way, uphold federal law to protect our youth by preventing legalisation in Washington, DC.”