US Senate panel removes barrier to DC recreational marijuana sales

The U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee this week released a spending bill backed by Democrats that removes a longstanding prohibition on adult-use cannabis sales in the District of Columbia.

But, as The Washington Post reported, the bill still faces significant opposition from Senate Republicans and so might never get signed into law as-is.

All 50 Democrats and 10 Republicans would have to support the spending package in order to bypass a filibuster – and the marijuana provision is not the only major change proposed for the appropriations package.

Democrats also removed a provision preventing DC from subsidizing abortions for low-income residents, a change that Republicans vociferously opposed.

Democratic “bills are filled with poison pills and problematic authorizing provisions,” GOP Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the Appropriations Committee vice chair, told the Post.

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Voters in Washington DC approved recreational marijuana legalization in 2014, but Congress has forbidden the city from launching legal, licensed MJ sales.

Because it’s legal in DC for residents to “gift” marijuana to each other, consumers often will pay extra for a T-shirt or some other cheap commodity to receive cannabis along with the purchase.