Ahead of Tomorrow’s D.C. Council Hearing on Recreational Marijuana Commercialization, Norton Says She is Closer Than Ever to Getting Rider Removed from D.C. Appropriations Bill

Nov 18, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Ahead of the Council of the District of Columbia’s hearing tomorrow on legislation to commercialize recreational marijuana, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she is closer than ever to removing the rider from the D.C. Appropriations bill that prohibits the District from spending local funds on commercialization of recreational marijuana. Norton was successful in getting the rider removed from the pending House and Senate versions of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 D.C. Appropriations bill, though President Biden’s FY 22 budget proposed maintaining it.

“Eighteen states have legalized recreational marijuana, and all have or will commercialize it,” Norton said. “D.C. should be able to collect tax revenue from all available sources, like every other jurisdiction, including from recreational marijuana, which is believed to be widely used in the District and throughout the country. The D.C. Council hearing on marijuana commercialization legislation tomorrow is timely, because my effort to remove the appropriations rider from the fiscal year 2022 D.C. Appropriations bill would allow D.C.’s local legislation legalizing commercialization to pass and take effect.

“I will always fight to remove each and every rider because D.C. should have full control over how it chooses to spend local funds. Anything less is unacceptable.”

In 2014, District voters approved an initiative legalizing the possession by adults of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Republicans immediately imposed a rider on the D.C. Appropriations bill to try to block the initiative from taking effect, but Norton successfully argued that the rider was flawed and only blocked D.C. from spending its local funds to commercialize recreational marijuana. As a result, D.C. residents have been able to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for recreational use, but not purchase it.