May 12, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), in remarks prepared for a press conference today with National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) leaders and business owners, thanked NCIA members for their tireless advocacy and asked for them to keep helping her remove the undemocratic appropriations rider that blocks the District of Columbia from spending its local funds to tax or regulate marijuana.
“After District of Columbia voters overwhelmingly passed a reasonable referendum to legalize small amounts of marijuana, Congress wasted no time in stepping in to try and block the referendum from taking effect. I was able to find a loophole in the congressional language in the rider trying to block the referendum. Therefore, growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana is now legal. However, Congress is sending residents to the illegal market by continuing to block the city from setting up a system to tax and regulate marijuana. Legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia has led to the exposure of the civil rights and racial implications of current marijuana prohibitions. Two civil rights organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, conducted independent studies finding shocking racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana laws in the District. The studies found that 91 percent of all marijuana-related arrests in D.C. were of black residents, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at the same rate. The evidence shows these racial disparities occur wherever there are large numbers of African Americans and people of color. I look forward to continuing to work with NCIA and cannabis advocates to get Congress to remove the undemocratic rider and to deschedule marijuana to allow D.C. and states to responsibly implement their local medical marijuana and marijuana legalization laws.”