DC May Use Emergency Funds For Pot Sales

24The US capital is strongly pushing its local marijuana reform efforts despite hurdles such as federal legislation and blocking from conservative Congress members. To get around federal rules, the Washington DC City council is now considering tapping its own emergency funds.

A rider in a federal spending bill prohibits the district from utilizing federal funds to implement cannabis-related reforms. But the legislation has no explicit rule that forbids DC to use its own funds for such reforms.

The city council is now looking at how they could get past the legislation in order to establish a regulatory system for the sales and taxation of recreational marijuana within the district.

Councilman Vincent Orange, talking to cannabis advocacy resource site Marijuana Majority, said that they are considering “several options on the table”. He added that using the contingency reserves that DC has already collected may “certainly get [the city] around the current restrictions.”

Another councilman, David Grosso, also indicated his interest and support in DC’s current options. He said that he is “very interested”, particularly in moving forward in terms of retail marijuana regulations.

With the council’s efforts, Washington DC is currently on the brink of a much-anticipated marijuana reform. In November, they passed Initiative 71, a ballot measure that allows personal possession and use of marijuana in the district. The measure gained about 70% support, and DC officials have already started overseeing its implementation. But because of blocks such as the federal bill, district residents still cannot legally obtain cannabis.

A cannabis reform in Washington DC has been hoped for by the marijuana industry for some time, as the opening up of the nation’s capital could signal a more favorable legal environment for the herb throughout the country.

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