D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced legislation Thursday to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana dispensaries in the nation’s capital, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government.
The District’s marijuana laws are in limbo. Residents can legally grow and possess small amounts of the drug under a 2014 voter-approved law. But they cannot legally purchase pot, and the city cannot tax sales, because of a provision in the federal budget that prohibits the District from enacting or enforcing marijuana legalization laws.
Advocates have been hopeful that Congress would strip the anti-marijuana language — which originated with House Republicans — from the federal budget now that Democrats control the House. But it’s unclear whether the next spending plan will pass before or after the 2020 elections.