The hearing that was planned for the D.C Council yesterday was cancelled after the District’s new Attorney General, Karl A. Racine, warned city lawmakers that they could be fined and even put in jail if they held the meeting. Racine stated that the meeting would violate a spending prohibition placed on the city by Congress.
Racine warned that moving forward with Monday’s hearing would put city officials and even staffers in violation of the federal Anti-Deficiency Act, which can expose lawmakers and government bureaucrats to penalties for spending tax money in ways prohibited by Congress.
“The issue here is not whether Initiative 71, which was, in our view, enacted before the 2015 Appropriations Act became effective, but, rather, whether the hearing on this bill — which was not enacted by the time the rider took effect — would violate the rider. We believe it would,” Racine wrote.
Business leaders from all over the country flew into the District of Columbia to discuss legalizing marijuana. This move is just another setback for the commencement of the legal marijuana program in the nation’s capital.
Congress has imposed its will on D.C for too long
Many D.C residents were not happy about the cancellation of this meeting. Josh Burch, co-founder of a group called Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood, said that he didn’t care about marijuana legalization but cared a lot more about the “fairness, equality and the basic tenets of democracy that don’t apply to the District.”
“Congress has imposed its will on the District for too long,” Burch said. “We the citizens and elected leaders have capitulated. The time for capitulation must end and the time for confrontation is upon us.”