DC voters legalize marijuana

Washington voters approved a measure Tuesday to legalize recreational marijuana in the nation's capital.
 
The vote could set up a showdown with Republicans on Capitol Hill, where some conservatives are highly critical of the District's moves this year to ease restrictions on the drug.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
The issue could surface as early as this month, as lawmakers return to Washington to begin debate on an end-of-year government spending package.
 
Earlier in the year, Harris had pushed legislation to defund a separate D.C. law which decriminalized marijuana. His proposal was passed in the House as an amendment to a 2015 spending bill, but Senate Democrats never considered the package.
 
The measure approved by voters Tuesday goes a big step further than decriminalization, permitting people aged 21 and over to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow a small number of cannabis plants in their homes and transfer up to an ounce of the drug to another adult — if no money changes hands.
 
It passed with 65 percent of the vote.
 
Tom Angell, head of Marijuana Majority, an advocacy group, said Tuesday night that legalizing the drug in the nation's capital sets the stage for a much broader expansion around the country.
 
"With marijuana legal in the federal government's backyard it's going to be increasingly difficult for national politicians to continue ignoring the growing majority of voters who want to end prohibition," Angell said in an email. "I've been saying for a while that 2016 presidential candidates need to start courting the cannabis constituency, and now the road to the White House quite literally travels through legal marijuana territory."
 
Oregon voters on Tuesday passed a similar measure.