White House Upholds States’ Rights, At Least For Marijuana

In reaction to a proposed amendment to block decriminalization of marijuana in D.C., the White House Office of Management and Budget took a strong stance in favor of states’ rights, the Washington Post reports.

Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland introduced an amendment which would prevent the D.C. Council from using any federal funds to enact pot policy changes, calling marijuana “poison to a teenager’s brain.” The D.C. Council has also released a statement condemning interference from Congress. The current legislation adopted by the Council replaces criminal penalties for marijuana usage with fines.

The marijuana amendment in the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill is just one of the reasons that the White House has announced its intentions to veto the whole bill if it ever passes through the Senate. The administration has previously refused to engage in legal action against Colorado or Washington for their legalization proposals, despite the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level.

“The Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the district from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District,” the Office of Management and Budget stated.

Mason Tvert, Communications Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that Rep. Andy Harris’ justification for hindering the D.C. Council’s marijuana proposals is irrelevant, as the measure does not allow for teen use of marijuana.

“Nobody wants teens using marijuana, but the measure adopted in DC does not allow for teen use. A majority of Americans think that making marijuana legal would be a better approach to preventing teen marijuana use. Prohibition has failed to prevent teens from accessing marijuana and has resulted in hundreds of thousands of responsible consumers being arrested,” Tvert told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We certainly commend the White House for making it clear that states should have the ability to establish their own marijuana policies. They should not be forced to maintain our federal government’s failed policy of prohibition. Voters in the District of Columbia have made it clear that they support ending marijuana prohibition, and their elected officials have taken action to move in that direction. They should have every right to do so,” Tvert added.

Rep. Andy Harris received $5,000 in campaign donations for the year 2014 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

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