My first amendment, cosponsored by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher, Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, strikes the rider that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds to commercialize recreational marijuana. Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana, and eight of those states have approved commercialization.
In February 2015, D.C. legalized the possession of marijuana for recreational use, after two independent studies found dramatic racial disparities in marijuana arrests in D.C. A rider to block recreational use failed due to faulty drafting, and possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for recreational use is legal in D.C., but Congress has prohibited D.C. from spending its local funds to tax and regulate recreational marijuana. This rider has unintentionally benefited violent drug gangs. For that reason, some refer to it as the “Drug Dealer Protection Act.” As one marijuana dealer told the Washington Post, the rider is “a license for me to print money.” Regulating marijuana like alcohol would allow D.C., instead of drug dealers, to control production, distribution, sales and revenues.