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Pot legalization takes effect tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

Feb 25, 2015 Pot legalization takes effect tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

Pot legalization takes effect tomorrow in Washington, D.C., when the District’s marijuana referendum becomes effective law.

Thanks to Mayor Muriel Bowser and all city councilmembers who did not bow to threats from a few U.S. House Republicans warning about Mayor Bowser’s risks of federal prosecution in the face of the recent federal spending bill that inserted a prohibition for the D.C. government to spend funds to effectuate the pot referendum. No funds need to be spent to effectuate the referendum’s legalization provision to not arrest, prosecute, nor otherwise penalize people for marijuana activities; all that is needed is to not arrest nor prosecute for such activities. Moreover, do not expect the Obama Administration to prosecute D.C. government officials for allowing marijuana legalization.

My understanding is that the referendum includes provisions beyond the criminal law that are not self-effectuating and that will not be effectuated to the extent that government spending is required to do so. I have not thoroughly reviewed the referendum to see whether it still involves prohibition of public marijuana smoking.

People do need to remember that marijuana possession on federal property in Washington, D.C., still can be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., and federal property abounds in the District — including the National Mall and the huge Rock Creek Park, to name but two places beyond buildings — so that few people likely know by heart where all the federal property is located.

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