Republican threatens DC mayor with jail over marijuana law

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A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday said Washington D.C.’s mayor could be jailed if the city goes forward with implementing a new law legalizing marijuana.

“If you decide to move forward with the legalization of marijuana in the District, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law,” Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzStocks dive on news of fresh FBI Clinton probe Clinton fails to contain damage from email leaks Trump backers lack Ryan alternative MORE (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Chaffetz also said that District officials could face jail time for allowing legalization to take effect.

“You can go to prison for this,” Chaffetz told The Washington Post. “We’re not playing a little game here.”

The letter warning the city not to go forward with the law was also signed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the panel’s subcommittee on Government Operations.

On Tuesday, Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that a ballot initiative legalizing the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana would take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. It will still be illegal to sell the drug or smoke it in public.

Chaffetz said that the city’s actions would violate a provision Congress passed forbidding the District from spending any funds on the implementation of the initiative.

Chaffetz and Meadows said it may have been illegal for the District to even transmit the measure to Congress, since they did so after the provision blocking its implementation was passed.
"Given Congress's broad powers to legislate with regard to the District of Columbia it would be unprecedented for the District to take action proscribed by legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president," they said.

In their letter, Chaffetz and Meadows asked the District to provide the names of any employees who have been involved in implementing the initiative, the amount of time they have spent on the project and how much money they make.

They are also requesting any documents related to the implementation of the ballot initiative and information on how money has been spent on preparing the city for legalization.