On Wednesday, it was announced that the omnibus funding bill included the “Harris Rider,” a measure that blocks Washington, D.C. from launching adult-use cannabis sales.
In November 2014, D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis by adults 21 and older. But due to the fact that D.C. cannot control its own budget, Congress has been able to block the District from taxing and regulating cannabis sales.
Following this news, Toi Hutchinson, President and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization, released the following statement:
“We are very disappointed that Congress continues to prevent residents of D.C. from regulating cannabis despite their urgent and repeated requests for reform. Instead, Congress is forcing the District to maintain a gray market in which cannabis can be legally possessed and consumed by adults, but it cannot be legally sold, regulated, or tested. This places consumers at risk, and entrepreneurs who live in this minority-majority community are denied the ability to open businesses that are available in every other legal cannabis jurisdiction.”