Washington Post: Advocates press for marijuana legalization measure on D.C. ballot

The District should set aside the warnings of its attorney general and let voters decide whether they want to legalize marijuana possession in the nation’s capital, advocates for the measure argued Tuesday before the D.C. Board of Elections.

The band of marijuana advocates is seeking to make the District one of the first East Coast cities to legalize marijuana possession. If it successfully gets the measure on the November ballot, legalization has a strong chance of being approved, according to a recent Washington Post poll, and it could hasten the arrival in Washington of a debate that has simmered mostly in Western states.

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SOURCE: Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post

Also See:

Press Release: The DC Cannabis Campaign Prepares to Fight for Ballot Access

February 24, 2014

CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671

The DC Cannabis Campaign Prepares to Fight for Ballot Access

Attorney General’s Analysis Won’t Hold Up in Court

WASHINGTON, DC – On February 25, 2014, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) will hold an administrative hearing on whether the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative is fit to go before voters this November. Last week, DC Attorney General Irv Nathan released his analysis of the proposed ballot initiative and stated that his office was against the proposed legislation because he claims it violates federal law concerning the District’s ability to enforce federal housing laws. While the Attorney General’s opinion is not legally binding, if the DCBOEE sides with him, the DC Cannabis Campaign is prepared to take the DCBOEE to court to ensure voters have the opportunity to decide on this important matter November 4.

“The Attorney General’s legal analysis is just one legal theory designed to silence the will of the voters by attempting to throw out our ballot initiative,” says Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign.

“Under the proposed initiative, the District would be free to use the lease required by federal law and evict tenants who violate the terms of the lease, as well as regulate conduct made lawful by the initiative on property that it owns,” wrote attorney Joseph Sandler. “For that reason, there is absolutely no conflict between federal law and the proposed initiative.”

If the DCBOEE sides with the DC Cannabis Campaign and allows the ballot initiative to go forward, the DCBOEE will issue petitions for registered DC voters to sign. The Campaign will need to collect valid signatures from five percent of registered voters in DC, which amounts to nearly 24,000 valid signatures. In order to for the initiative to be put on the November general election ballot, the Campaign must submit the signatures by July 7.

“If the Board of Elections delays the initiative language approval, we’ll be forced to have a special election, which will cost the DC government nearly $1 million,” says Eidinger. “We’d much rather save the DC government the expense by allowing voters to decide the marijuana question during the general election.”

The DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative will permit District residents 21 and older to cultivate marijuana in their homes and allow residents to keep the marijuana grown at home for their personal use. The initiative does not permit the consumption of marijuana in public nor does it allow District residents to sell the marijuana they’ve grown. Furthermore, the initiative does not create a “Tax & Regulate” system similar to the successful ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington. The District’s Home Rule Charter does not allow District residents to create any taxing authority through the ballot box, but it does allow District residents to expand freedoms.

“Poll after poll has shown DC residents support legal marijuana. The DCBOEE should empower citizens to vote on this important issue,” concludes Eidinger.

Full text of the DC Cannabis Campaign’s ballot initiative can be viewed at www.DCMJ.org/ballot-initiative/.


2014 Marijuana Legalization Initiative–Legal Analysis 2-19-14 (1)

DCMJ Letter to Ken McGhie 2 21 14 SENT

Draft Ballot Initiative – Please Leave Feedback!

DC Cannabis Campaign Draft Ballot Initiative Language

What do you think?

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Thank you for your comments! We closed the public comment period on January 9, 2014. Below are the anonymous comments submitted by the public:

10/18/13 11:38 “6 plants is too many and would produce much more than 2 oz. of MJ. each plant would weigh more than 2 oz. You should make clear that MJ is in usable form and not to be considered if still on the leaf. plants should be limited to residence rather than the person. If 5 people live in a group home, if they all get to grow 6 plants, you got 18 plants.”
10/18/13 13:51 “The “”with 3 or fewer being mature plants”” language is very strange and makes little sense. In fact the smallest hydro units hold at least 6 small plants and I can’t imagine anyone using them for fewer. And vegetation and harvesting will all be done as a group. Also there’s much difference between the amount that can be produced by large plants and small plants. Many hydro plants are forced into bloom at 10″” high while large plants can reach 10′ even indoors. The quantity limit should be on the weight of buds combined or total height, not plant number if anything.”
10/19/13 20:28 Sounds good to me!
10/25/13 14:21 “i think this is a great cause! I think this will eliminate a few things in Dc, including less lock ups,more low income residents chances to obtain employment and other opportunites. After 1998, what was the real holdup? Isnt this just as important and fair as same sex marriage? i think so, so if i can help contact me!
10/25/13 14:47 I think this is great. We finally have a voice for the people. This type of movement will enhance a lot of things. These fines for posession of marijuana are really outrageous, and it’s time we take a stand. What time is better than now, especillay when you have a whole city behind you.
11/20/13 16:21 Why not age 18 or 19?
12/10/13 14:18 It might make more sense to change the age limit to 18. It’s where I, and many folks think it should be. Right now the precedent is 21, but if we change to 18 it might influence other municipalities and change the precedent.
12/10/13 14:22 So happy to be getting this email and hear of the progress!! Shouldn’t the bill clarify procedures for smoking and operating a vehicle? Washington Initiative 502 makes it clear that it’s illegal, and I’ve had friends arrested for simply sitting in their car smoking a joint.”
12/16/13 17:42 Looks quite good. As many protective measures as possible so no unlawful circumventing of your vision/purpose/proposal.
1/6/14 13:49 Marijuana is used as a means of calming and pain relief. I personally feel that marijuana has helped me with my manic symptoms in my bi-polar disorder. It also helps my anxiety disorder. Taking several anti-depressants and anti-psychotic have only helped to zombify and mummified me. They don’t allow me to engage in a normal life with daily activities. Marijuana has helped me to engage in society without feeling anxious and paranoid.
1/6/14 14:15 I think is great and reads well.
1/6/14 14:47 make sure it includes home cultivation explicitly so they can not deny what the people want! make sure it does not restrict people with prior criminal records for drugs from participating and make sure there is very little or no regulation other than marijuana possession, use, sale, cultivation and creation of food and concentrates will be legal for all adults over 21.
1/6/14 15:10 Para 6: property owners, ie, landlords, could restrict a tenant’s right to grow. DELETE!!!!!
1/6/14 15:55 Looks like we can kiss the days of going to jail for a gram goodbye with this legislation! The first step towards a more logical culture.
1/7/14 1:03 Great
1/7/14 10:13 DC residents should be free to grow their own marijuana!
1/8/14 10:17 Canabis should be legal. It is much less less harmful than alcohol and many prescription drugs
1/8/14 16:59 I read the ballot initiative and found it well written and composed . I support the ballot initiative in its entire form and agree that it should be ratified and immediately implemented.
1/8/14 20:51 It’s about time, please legalize marijuana. No more war on drugs, no more people having their records ruined for a lifetime for smoking a plant. Sick people needs it, mental patients need it and I include myself in this category, marijuana safe my life, it calms me down and stops my repetitive bad thoughts in its tracks. I have Maniac depression and I need Marijuana to snap out of hell or depression and mania. I’m a professional, I have a career, a house, I pay taxes and I love and trust this country. Do the right thing and legalize recreational use of Marijuana. Thank You.