WASHINGTON – U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has thrown her support behind the legalization of marijuana in the nation’s capital.
From Thursday onwards, inhabitants will be allowed to smoke, grow and possess cannabis, but not sell it.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the congresswoman spoke of the overwhelming support the move received in the District of Columbia where 70.1 percent of the citizens voted in favor of the marijuana legalization initiative known as Initiative 71.
Ever since the approval of the measure, the government of the District of Columbia and Congress have been locked in a series of clashes.
The latest took place at a press conference a couple of days ago when Democrat mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced that smoking pot will be legal Thursday, the end of the 30-day congressional review period.
Republican congressmen argue that the city council cannot legalize marijuana as it is forbidden under a rider introduced in the federal budget at the end of last year.
“(N)one of the funds contained in this act may be used to enact any law, rule or regulation” that would legalize or lessen the criminal penalty for any Schedule I drug, including marijuana,” the rider said.
However, local authorities say that the clause only prevents them from regulating the sale of and the imposition of taxes on marijuana.
Pelosi expressed her support to Muriel E. Bowser for the initiative early February despite protests from the Republicans.
“It is very troubling that Republicans would threaten elected District officials for implementing the measure resoundingly passed by the District of Columbia’s voters,” said the lawmaker.
The measure will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 60 grams (two ounces) of marijuana, smoke it at home or in private spaces, give up to one ounce of pot to other adults 21 and older and grow up to six plants.