During the midterm elections in November, the people of D.C. spoke loudly, with an overwhelming majority voting in favor of legalizing weed for recreational use. This measure would raise badly needed revenue, help unclog the court system, and allow the police to focus their efforts on more serious crimes. But thanks to a bunch of rich people who sit around all day in real nice offices on Capitol Hill and do virtually nothing, that won’t be happening. The Washington Post reports:

The District will be prohibited from legalizing marijuana for the much of the coming year under a spending deal reached Tuesday between top Senate Democrats and House Republicans to fund the federal government through next September.

The development — upending voter-approved Initiative 71 — shocked elected D.C. leaders, advocates for marijuana legalization and civil liberties groups who earlier in the day had grown confident that the measure would be at least partially protected while Democrats still controlled the Senate.

And it gets worse. Via the Washington Times:

But the measure appeared to go much further, also rolling back a law approved by the council this year eliminating criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Morgan Fox, Communications Manager for the Marijuana Policy Project criticized the deal, telling ANIMAL via email that “it is frankly shocking that certain members of Congress are trying to interfere with an act that was overwhelmingly supported by District residents and would help alleviate the racial disparity in arrest patterns.”

“Regardless of whether the budget rider would block the initiative, it would prevent the District from regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol. This is tantamount to securing jobs for illicit drug dealers,” wrote Fox.

There is one tiny silver lining in the budget, according to Fox:

It is important to note that the budget does include the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which is meant to prevent the DOJ from spending any funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. This legislation is nearly 12 years in the making, and is an indicator that Americans do not want the federal government to prevent states from allowing their seriously ill citizens to have safe and legal access to their medicine.

Democracy; so overrated.

(Photo: Zohar Manor-Abel)