Democrats Fail to Get D.C.’s Cannabis Legalization Approved by Congress

The legal sale of cannabis in the nation’s capital will continue to remain under a federal ban, due to a rider attached to the $1.5 trillion spending package that Congress passed this week.

The Harris Rider is named after Rep. Andy Harris (R.Maryland). has been part of federal budgets since 2015This was the year that Washington, D.C. residents approved recreational marijuana sales. During budget negotiations, Democrats tried to remove the rider, but were ultimately unsuccessful. in spite of theirAnd President Joe Biden’s2020 promises to decriminalize cannabis, and reschedule the drug in Schedule I of The Controlled Substances Act.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) defended his party’s actions.

“We don’t like the fact it’s there. But it was a choice between providing D.C. and the American people with funding for their big priorities and still having them and not having them,” Van Hollen said, adding that Republicans were apparently “ready to shut down the government” over the issue and other riders that Democrats wanted out of the bill.

The legislation provides funding both for the federal government and aid to Ukraine following the Russian invasion. passed in the Senate by a vote of 68 to 31 on Thursday nightAfter having passed the House earlier in week, the bill was approved by the Senate. Biden is expected sign the bill Friday.

Despite the fact that the Washington, D.C., Democrats failed to lift the prohibition on recreational cannabis sales this week, They have introduced legislation in recent yearsThis would decriminalize marijuana in the U.S. These efforts have been stalled in large part because of obstruction from the GOP and conservative DemocratsIn the Senate

D.C. residents support legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis within their federal district. Smoking cannabis is also legal in the district, so long as it’s not done in public areas or on federal property. But the Harris Rider has prevented legal cannabis sales in Washington, D.C. becoming a reality.

Washington, D.C. is able to exercise some autonomy in these and other areas, but Congress still has the final word. the ability to overturnAny legislation passed within the city is final and has ultimate control over how the area will be managed.

Legalization isn’t just favored in Washington, D.C. Indeed, polling on the national level shows that a majority of Americans — nearly three-in-five — back the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.

In a YouGov survey conducted in November of 202157% of respondents stated that they want the drug legalized. Only 27% said they wanted it to remain illegal at the federal level.

Cannabis is currently legal for recreational use in 18 states and in Washington, D.C.It is legal an additional 17 states for medicinal use.