Congress Plans to Partially Defund DC Pot Initiative

A congressional deal to avert another government shutdown contains a provision to stop the District of Columbia from allowing the sale of marijuana, angering supporters of a pro-pot initiative that D.C. voters approved overwhelmingly in November, The Washington Post reports.

The anti-pot measure — a budget “rider” slipped into a $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill that would keep the government running past Thursday — could prevent the nation’s capital from joining Colorado and Washington as legal weed havens.

The measure does not overturn the results of Initiative 71, the legalization referendum that passed on Nov. 4 with more than 60 percent of the vote, but it strips any local funding for oversight and regulation of legal pot sales.

Critics call the rider unjustified, and a violation of the city’s Home Rule Charter, which Congress approved in 1973 to guarantee the District more autonomy in policy and spending.

“To undermine the vote of the people — taxpayers — does not foster or promote the ‘limited government’ stance House Republicans claim they stand for; it’s uninformed paternalistic meddling,” a D.C. city council member, David Grosso, complained in a press release entitled, ” Don’t Blunt D.C.’s Election,” the Post reports.