D.C. Department of Health Recommends Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

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October 27, 2016
Denver, CO

In an exciting new development, the District of Columbia Department of Health issued a report that, in its conclusion, recommends the legalization of the sale of marijuana within D.C.  The 32-page report calls on the District to “[i]mpose state taxes on production, distribution, and sales alonFlag_Map_of_Washington_DCg with a licensed market participation, age restriction, and prohibitions on advertising and marketing to minors” and to “[u]se current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls under District of Columbia laws”.

Additionally, the report urges the strengthening of addiction recovery programs, the improvement of marijuana education–especially for expecting and new mothers–and the monitoring of alcohol and tobacco use among both users and non-users of marijuana.

The D.C. Department of Health’s recommendation is highly encouraging, but is currently met with obstacles put in place by Congress.

From our blog:

“Councilmembers Grosso, Orange, Evans, and Nadeau have sponsored legislation to create the regulatory framework necessary for a responsible marijuana industry. The ‘Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015,’ B21-0023, would allow the city to register and regulate marijuana cultivators, product manufacturers, retail stores, and testing labs and to impose taxes on the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

Unfortunately, Congress attached a “rider” to an appropriations bill that blocked the council from spending any money to enact a law that would reduce penalties associated with the use, possession, or sale of marijuana. This rider is set to expire on September 30, 2016. MPP is working to ensure that Congress does not include it on next year’s budget.

Even if they do, there are other paths forward. The Local Budget Autonomy Act may allow the District to tax and regulate marijuana using its own local funds. Or, Mayor Bowser could use special savings known as “reserve funds” to tax and regulate marijuana. Although Congress could still block a tax and regulate bill, it would have to do so by passing a joint resolution in both houses that would be subject to presidential veto, which is much more difficult than attaching a rider.”

You can read the full report here.

The post D.C. Department of Health Recommends Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol appeared first on MPP Blog.

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