The Washington D.C. Health Department is recommending that the city legalize and regulate recreational marijuana sales, bypassing the U.S. Congress if need be.
In a new report, D.C. health officials make several recommendations regarding legal marijuana:
1. Impose state taxes on production, distribution, and sales along with a licensed market participation, age restriction, and prohibitions on advertising and marketing to minors.
2. Use current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls under District of Columbia laws.
3. Strengthen treatment programs and educate residents about health consequences associated with marijuana use
4. Provide individuals suffering from addiction with resources for recovery
5. Monitor cigarette and alcohol use among marijuana users and non-users
6. Provide expecting mothers with information regarding the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding
Congress has blocked several attempts by leaders in the city to take control of sales on the legal market, despite the fact that possession and home growing are both legal under D.C. law. This means that illegal dealers in the city have access to legal customers with no competition from legal suppliers; the best-case scenario for a dealer on the black market. City leaders hope to use funds from other areas of the budget to bypass Congress and set up legal cannabis regulations.
This is not the time or the place to get into how messed up it is that the U.S. Congress makes laws for residents of Washington D.C. without ever having to face voters in the city, other than to remark how messed up it is.
When it comes to cannabis legalization, legal sales are a key ingredient in creating jobs and undercutting the black market. They are doing it wrong in D.C., which should come as no surprise to anyone.