Washington, D.C. – In a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, two Republican congressmen Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the appropriations subcommittee that handles D.C.’s budget, ominously warned not to move forward with legalization in the District, claiming that to do so would be a violation of federal law.
D.C. officials and federal lawmakers have sparred over whether Initiative 71, a ballot measure approved by 70 percent of voters in November, can legally take effect.
The letter arrived the same day that the voter-approved legalization measure is scheduled to become law, at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. It sets the stage for a showdown between the will of the D.C. voters and their city and the federal government, attempting to enforce its will over that of the District’s constituents.
“If you decide to move forward tomorrow with the legalization of marijuana in the District, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law,” read the letter.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Rep. Chaffetz went further, saying that if Bowser and city officials are “under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We’re not playing a little game here.”
The letter goes on to state that if the city moves forward with legalization, Congress could potentially charge D.C. city officials with violating the Anti-Deficiency Act. The Anti-Deficiency Act says that the District can’t spend any funds not appropriated by them.
In addition, the letter requests an accounting of all monies spent on enacting the legalization measure. It states that the city provide names of any city employees that assist in “any action related to the enactment of Initiative 71.”
The overreach by the federal government is stunning and provides an unobstructed view to your average American of what federal tyranny looks like. The ballot initiative got 70 percent of the vote, but congressmen from Utah and North Carolina are attempting to usurp the will of the D.C. residents that carried the initiative to an overwhelming success.
While addressing questions about the law Tuesday morning, Mayor Bowser said the District would enact the law and that she and Rep. Meadows had spoken about the law.
“I don’t know what the Congress will do, but I do know what my job is at this point, and that’s to make sure that we have clear rules and guidelines for the people of the District of Columbia and the agencies of our government,” Mayor Bowser said Tuesday, according to the Washington Times.
With the passage of Initiative 71, it will be legal for people 21 or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for recreational use, transfer up to an ounce to others, and grow up to six plants inside of a dwelling. Thus far, regulation of the sale has failed to manifest as Congress continues to fight to keep it illicit in the District.
The reality is that the winds of change are blowing strong and someone visiting D.C. on the buck of the U.S. taxpayer should have no ability to override the free will exercised by the citizens of the District of Columbia.
The war on drugs is an absolute failure, and legalization of marijuana is taking place all across the country on a state level. Federal legislation was introduced in the House recently to legalize marijuana on a federal level.
If the federal government believes that it can stop the movement that is underway, they are sadly mistaken. Just as prohibition of alcohol was doomed to fail, so too was prohibition of marijuana.
If the will of 70 percent of voters can so easily be disregarded, perhaps we should question whether voting means anything at all.
Help to spread this information, share this article with your friends. Also feel free to let these two Congressmen know how their tyrannical actions are not desired.
Jason Chaffetz can be reached here.
Mark Meadows can be reached here.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.