WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia should no longer have a “half-legal” marijuana law that allows possession but not dispensaries, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and cannabis activists said Tuesday while demonstrating outside the Capitol.
Holding up a giant inflatable joint, activists from D.C. Marijuana Justice said it’s time for full marijuana legalization in D.C.
“We are making progress on cannabis,” Holmes Norton told the crowd. “We have passed in the house the SAFE Banking Act… It looks like even the Senate may pass it.”
The SAFE Banking Act would prohibit banks from being penalized for doing business with legal marijuana businesses. Currently, marijuana business transactions need to be carried out using cash and that cash cannot be deposited, which sellers say makes the marijuana business more dangerous and inefficient.
Justin Strekal, lobbyist for National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that he is cautiously optimistic that the Senate will vote on the bill, but “it is impossible to say with any certainty” if it will be passed.
In 2014, D.C. decriminalized marijuana possession. However, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican, inserted language into appropriations bills that denied funds for D.C. to establish and regulate marijuana dispensaries and take further steps towards fully legalizing marijuana. A similar provision appears in the Senate version of the 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, but not the House version.
“I’m here to say there’s no such thing as half legal. It’s time to finish the job of full legalization in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States of America,” Holmes Norton said.
Adam Eidinger, one of the co-founders of DCMJ, said that he and other activists are willing to campaign against senators who do not fully support marijuana legalization.
“If we have to go to Colorado and knock on doors and say Cory Gardner is awful on cannabis… we will,” Said, Eidinger, who also said he moved from D.C. to Maryland in 2018 to campaign against Harris.