Pubdate: Thu, 26 Feb 2015
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2015 The New York Times Company
Author: Jennifer Steinhauer


WASHINGTON - Some Congressional Republicans said Thursday that they 
would increase their efforts to prevent residents here from 
possessing small amounts of marijuana, which became legal in 
Washington at midnight, and warned that the city would face numerous 
investigations and hearings should the mayor continue her practice of 
telling them to please find something else to worry about.

"We say move forward at your own peril," said Representative Jason 
Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, echoing 
a letter he and Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North 
Carolina, sent to city officials this week, warning of legal action 
and ordering the district to turn over documentation on any employees 
involved with putting the law into effect.

On Thursday, the difficulty in detecting a pot-infused sea change in 
the city was not surprising, given that selling the drug in the city 
remains illegal and that any plants, which may now be grown at home 
(six only, and only three of them mature), would be hard to see 
through the perpetual snow on the window panes. Residents are not 
permitted to smoke in public or on federal land, so any smoke wafting 
along the Potomac was no less or more than it would have been on 
Wednesday. Photo

What is more, the district already decriminalized possession of small 
amounts of marijuana last year, making the new ability for residents 
21 and older to legally possess two ounces a bit of a snore, 
statutorily speaking.

"The fact is that Initiative 71 is an incremental change from the 
previous D.C. law that decriminalized small amounts of marijuana," 
Michael Czin, a spokesman for Mayor Muriel Bowser, said in an email. 
"It's largely business as usual for us. Right now, we're focused on 
implementing the law in a thoughtful, responsible way and making sure 
our residents know what they can and cannot do."

Adam Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, planted six 
seeds of the "soul shine" variety of marijuana in a little tray in 
his home, which also serves as the campaign's headquarters. He then 
rolled up a joint to smoke for the benefit of rolling television cameras.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday just 
outside the district, several dozen people attended a panel on 
marijuana legalization, where former Gov. Gary E. Johnson of New 
Mexico debated Anne Marie Buerkle, the commissioner of the Consumer 
Product Safety Commission. While Ms. Buerkle stressed the impact of a 
drug she said would "stupefy our youth," Mr. Johnson emphatically 
disagreed, saying the debate was akin to arguing "over whether the 
sun is going to come up tomorrow."

Other guests at the conference demonstrated the divide. "Prohibition 
is a nanny state, liberal idea that the government should protect you 
from your own stupidity," said Howard Wooldridge, a former police 
detective and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "For 
conservatives, this should be their bread and butter. If these people 
would apply their conservative principles to the issue, they would 
all be on my side."

The House speaker, John A. Boehner, has deferred the matter to the 
relevant committees. However, some Republican House members said they 
would ask the Justice Department to prevent the legalization of 
marijuana in the district, which approved the law in a referendum 
passed overwhelmingly last fall. Congressional Republicans believe 
they blocked the voter initiative through a last-minute provision in 
a large federal spending bill.

"The district is on a slippery slope to becoming Amsterdam," Mr. 
Chaffetz said. "We are going to appeal to the U.S. attorney. We want 
to see the law enforced."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom