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Congress Still Doesn’t Want DC To Regulate Marijuana Sales

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By Josh Fatzick

In a draft congressional spending bill released Wednesday, the House Committee on Appropriations is again blocking the District of Columbia from regulating marijuana sales in the city.

The legislation maintains provisions from last year that forbid D.C. from using any federal or local funds to further its marijuana legalization efforts.

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In February, the city legalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and gave residents over the age of 21 the ability to grow as many as six plants, though only three can be mature at any one time.

It is legal to give one ounce or less of marijuana to another person, so long as there is no exchange of money or any kind of trade. But since Congress forbade the city from setting up regulatory framework, sale of marijuana is still illegal.

Republicans in Congress have been duking it out with the city ever since the legalization took effect, promising to find ways to defund other city programs.

Rep. Andy Harris said he and other Republicans would “find some areas where we perhaps have been very generous with citizens of the District.”

Prior to the law taking effect, two Republican congressmen threatened to throw D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in jail if she went through with the legalization, though she called their bluff and they eventually backed down.

If the language in the bill isn’t changed, D.C. will not be able to enact any type of legislation pertaining to legalization or regulation of marijuana until September, 2017.

The bill also prohibited D.C. from funding abortions or setting up a needle exchange program.

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