Congressional GOP Not Likely to Block DC Marijuana Legalization

In what must come as a relief for cannabis enthusiasts in the nation’s capital, The Washington Post reported this week that Congressional Republicans seem to have little appetite for overturning a voter-approved measure that legalized marijuana possession and use in Washington DC earlier this month.

Although Initiative 71 passed overwhelmingly with nearly 65% of the vote in the District of Columbia, backers have been forced to wait on pins and needles to see if conservatives in Congress would push to upend the new law, since Congress has oversight over local laws in the capital. But apparently their fears were unfounded, according to The Post.

“To be honest, that’s pretty far down my list of priorities,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, told The Post when asked about Initiative 71.

Graham was just one of several key GOP senators who told the paper that they’re not interested in meddling in local DC politics, since they have much bigger political fish to fry, ranging from nuclear talks with Iran to America’s military campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, even told Roll Call on Election Day that if DC voters approved the measure, then Congress should respect their will.

After Initiative 71 is formally codified into the district’s law, it’s slated to be forwarded to Congress for review in January, according to The Post. After that, Congress would have up to 60 days to act on it.

For 71 to be overturned, both the House and Senate would have to pass a resolution to that effect, and President Obama would have to sign it. But if Congress instead decides to simply not address the matter, the DC law would stand as passed by voters.