By James Jones | November 20, 2014
In November, 64 percent of DC voters supported Initiative 71, an effort to legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana in the District of Columbia. As the DC Council prepares to transmit the initiative to Capitol Hill for the outdated and unnecessarily bureaucratic Congressional review process, District residents will find out once again whether members of Congress are willing to ignore democracy when it comes to the 650,000 American citizens who live in the shadow of the capitol.
Already, members of the House of Representatives are preparing to attack the District’s local law:
“I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action.” – Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)
“[W]hen I was the chairman of the D.C. subcommittee, I didn’t meddle in their affairs. This is a little different, when you take something that is on its face against federal law and say that we’re going to supersede it … I wouldn’t support that effort if a state did it.” –Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) forgetting the four states that have also legalized marijuana.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) outright refused to do anything to prevent this abortion of justice, admitting that when it comes to members of Congress forcing their personal opinions on DC residents “it’s all on the table” during the appropriations process.
Thankfully, a number of members of Congress from both parties are standing up for the rights of District residents, speaking out against Congress meddling in local affairs:
“I think there should be a certain amount of discretion for both states and territories and the District, you know [. . .] I’m not for having the federal government get involved.” –Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
“The fundamental principles are individual liberty, which Republicans have always talked about; limited government, which Republicans have always talked about; the doctor-patient relationship, which, of course, we have been stressing a lot about lately; and of course, states’ rights,” – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Still others in Congress are taking little interest in efforts to overturn the initiative vote, providing more evidence that a jurisdiction’s local laws are not a concern of many on Capitol Hill.
“To be honest, that’s pretty far down my list of priorities,” - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
“I haven’t given it one thought,” - Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
“[I’m] focused on other things,” - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
As we fight to stop any attempt from Congress to overturn the District’s local laws, we will remind the constituents of those seeking to ignore democracy that instead of focusing on national issues – or matters that may have an impact on their home district -- they are using their power to attack American citizens in a local jurisdictions that did not elect them.