Friday, February 27, 2015

Congress on the wrong path--Again

I have been watching drama play out in Washington, DC, because the city is on the verge of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana according to an article titled, Republicans Warn Washington to Think Twice About Legalizing Marijuana published in the New York Times. 

It is immaterial whether I agree or disagree with the decriminalization of marijuana--but that the Congress, which has legislative authority over Washington, DC, can override and threaten the elected officials of the District is wrong! Since when did congressmen elected from districts across the country presume to represent the citizens of DC? It is one of the interesting paradox's of our representative form of government. Washington, DC, truly is without representation.

Voters in Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska can vote to change their marijuana laws--but voters in DC cannot. Congress has the ultimate oversight and therefore the people living in DC do not have representation as the lawmakers in charge of governing them are not elected by the people.

The District of Columbia is a lot more than federal land and landmarks. The people living there deserve responsive representation. Congress should recuse itself from meddling in this and most other issues affecting the District.

The incredible tale of this issue is reported as follows in the article: A few weeks after the marijuana ballot initiative passed, House Republicans placed a provision into a large federal spending bill prohibiting the city, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, from spending tax dollars to enact the initiative. But district officials argue that the marijuana law had already been enacted and certified by the Board of Elections before Congress passed the spending bill, so there was no “enacting” for the House to prevent.

I think the Mayor said it best and succinctly, Ms. Bowser [the Mayor] said Wednesday that the city would carry out its own law and that Congress should “not be so concerned about overturning what seven out of 10 voters said should be the law.”

Congress needs to stick to the bigger issues of running the country and let the people of DC govern themselves--perhaps they need to gain statehood in order to truly achieve representation. But that is an issue for another day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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