Holmes Norton warns of move to block DC pot law

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Washington, D.C.'s delegate to Congress, warned residents Tuesday that Republicans are weighing an attempt to block the District's new law decriminalizing marijuana. 

The congresswoman said she "was informed" from multiple people that Republicans are "considering" offering an amendment to the District's appropriation bill to halt the D.C. law, signed by the mayor in April. 

The law is currently undergoing a two-month review by Congress. 

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The amendment, which has not been confirmed or filed, could be attached during the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill being marked up Wednesday, Holmes Norton said. 

“Considering the recent House hearing on the city’s decriminalization bill, but on none of the states that have decriminalized marijuana, we certainly are not surprised, and we have been preparing for Republicans to try to block D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill,” she said. 

Holmes Norton said it would be ironic if the House voted for the amendment a month after approving a separate amendment to the Justice Department appropriations bill that would allows states to implement their medical marijuana laws free from the department. 

The District's law would decriminalize the drug recreationally, separate from medical marijuana laws that are already in place. Eighteen states have decriminalized the drug, while Washington state and Colorado have legalized it. 

"We cannot depend on consistency or an aversion to hypocrisy to save our law," the D.C. lawmaker said. "We simply have to fight, and fight we will.”

Rules governing the District allow Congress to review the legislation for 60 days before the proposal becomes law. It would be unusual for Congress to attempt to block the legislation, requiring action from the House and Senate as well as the signature of the president.

The law is slated to go into effect in mid-July.