DC Council May Use Emergency Funds to Start Rec Sales

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The Washington DC City Council is looking into tapping emergency funds as a way to implement legal recreational marijuana sales in the district, despite attempts from conservative members of Congress to block marijuana reform in the nation’s capital.

Councilman Vicent Orange told Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell this week that there are “several options on the table” for establishing a regulatory system for selling and taxing rec cannabis in the district.

Using contingency reserves that the district has already collected is apparently one of them. That, Orange said, “would certainly get us around the current restrictions.”

Councilman David Grosso also told Angell that he is “very interested in finding a path forward to regulate the buying and selling of retail marijuana,” indicating that he also may back a move such as using the city’s reserves to set up a regulatory system for rec shops.

At issue is a rider that was attached to an enormous spending bill in December that prohibits the district from using federal funds to implement marijuana-related reforms. But the federal legislation doesn’t explicitly prohibit the district from using its own funds to do so.

DC officials recently oversaw the implementation of Initiative 71, a ballot measure that passed in November with roughly 70% support, allowing personal use and possession of cannabis. But there’s still no way for residents to legally obtain marijuana. That’s where the city’s emergency funds come into play.