Voters in the District of Columbia chose Tuesday to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but the incoming Republican-controlled Congress will decide whether legalization should be allowed to stand, Roll Call
In July, the District had voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts
of the drug in favor of a fine of $25 for those caught with it.
District of Columbia officials are poised to transmit the legalization bill to Capitol Hill.
Congress has the authority to review
all legislation, including budget spending, passed by the District of Columbia city council before it can become law.
"Congress has a legitimate role under the Constitution and home rule to review our statutes and so I have to give that some thought in terms of how we proceed," said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, Roll Call reported.
When Republicans controlled Congress 15 years ago, they blocked a measure to legalize medical marijuana.
"With marijuana legal in the federal government's backyard, it's going to be increasingly difficult for national politicians to continue ignoring the growing majority of voters who want to end prohibition," said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, according to Roll Call.
Local advocates of decriminalization say they still want the federal government to take action.
"This sort of patchwork of state laws is going to go away when the feds finally address the issue," said Adam Eidinger, who helped get the legalization referendum on the D.C. ballot. "There will be no need for 50 different policies on marijuana and medical marijuana," Roll Call reported.
The bill will become law assuming Congress does not intervene to stop it during the 60-day review period.
The District of Columbia marked 40 years of home rule in October, The Washington Post
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