Though he’s legally prohibited from supporting the legalization of cannabis, U.S. drug czar Michael Botticelli – director of the Office of National Drug Policy Control – says that Washington D.C. should be able to implement its own laws using its own funding, even if that means legalizing the distribution of recreational cannabis.
“As a resident of the District, I might not agree about legalization, but I do agree with our own ability to spend our own money the way that we want to do that,” Botticelli said Friday during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Botticelli notes that President Obama agrees; “The president, as it relates to the District, was very clear that the District should stick to its home rule”.
In November, D.C. voters approved an initiative that legalized the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, though didn’t legalize cannabis sales. The following month, federal lawmakers approved a national spending bill which included a provision prohibiting D.C. from spending any federal or local funds implementing an initiative or a legislative proposal to legalize cannabis sales.
Despite this, legislation was filed last month in the D.C. Council to legalize cannabis outlets, which would be able to distribute up to two ounces of cannabis to anyone 21 and older, and President Obama included a change in his proposed 2016 budget which would allow D.C. to do just that.
Obama’s budget will need to be approved by congress before becoming law.