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)