Congress blocks legal DC pot sales

A file image shows a man smoking a joint. (Photo credit: MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images)

There’s been a major setback for DC’s long effort to get tax revenue from legalized cannabis sales.

Late Monday night, House Democrats unveiled the 2020 appropriations bill that will continue to ban the District of Columbia from creating a marijuana industry. DC voters by a margin of 70 percent overwhelmingly approved the DC legalization marijuana legislation back in in 2014.

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Congressman Earl Blumenauer who founded the “Congressional Cannabis Caucus” calls the move a missed opportunity.

Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized the Congressional bill and says that DC should have the right to implement safe cannabis laws just like other jurisdictions.

“Well it’s just another reason why we have to march towards statehood,” Bowser told FOX 5. “Until we are autonomous and a state just like everyone else in America we can always have this interference from Congress!”

Under the bill (likely to pass the full House), D.C. will still be prohibited from selling, regulating and taxing a cannabis industry.

Because DC is a federal district and not a state, the U.S. government exercises more control over its finances. The current system will remain in place.

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Use, growing and gifting of marijuana are allowed in the District of Columbia, but still no production, manufacturing or sales of pot.

But it also keeps in place a system of marijuana use that many people find unrealistic and encouraging illegal activity in the nation’s capital.

Just days ago, D.C. police raided a smoke shop in the heart of Georgetown because police said the business was illegally selling pot. Local ANC officials told FOX 5 that local marijuana restrictions are being violated around the district as a way around the marijuana prohibition rules.

VOTE HERE: Should DC be allowed to sell marijuana?