Obama’s 2016 Budget Would Allow D.C. to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis Sales

President Obama on Monday released his proposal for the federal government’sbudget 2016 budget. As part of the 2,000-page, $4 trillion proposed budget, Obama is calling for a reversal of recent congressional action that prohibits the District of Columbia from legalizing recreational cannabis sales.

In November, D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that legalized the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis. The initiative didn’t, however, legalize cannabis sales.

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Proposal to Legalize Cannabis Retail Outlets Filed in Washington D.C.

D.C. Councilmembersd.c. David Grosso, Vincent Orange, Jack Evans and Brianna K. Nadeau have filed the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015 (B21-0023), a proposal to legalize sales of recreational cannabis, including establishing a framework for legal cannabis retail outlets. The introduction of the proposal comes just over two months after D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, a proposal that legalized cannabis possession and cultivation, though not sales.

Introduction of the proposal comes despite the recent passage of a federal spending bill that included an amendment barring the District of Columbia from spending local or federal funds to implement any law that legalizing the sale of cannabis.

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D.C. Mayor-Elect Announces Support for Legalizing Cannabis Sales

D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser.
D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser.

On Tuesday, voters in Washington D.C. approved an initiative to legalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, and the private cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, for those 21 and older. Unlike legalization initiatives approved in Alaska and Oregon this election (and Washington and Colorado in 2012), D.C.’s Initiative 71 doesn’t allow for cannabis retail outlets, or for cannabis to be distributed through any other means.

However, at her first press-conference since winning the election, Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser announced that she supports legalizing cannabis sales, and that district lawmakers will “turn our attention to it”.

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