Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Other Members to Hold a Bipartisan Press Conference on Marijuana Legalization

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—November 13, 2014. The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that Norton and other Members of Congress whose states have legalized or relaxed restrictions on marijuana and who support the District of Columbia’s right to legalize marijuana will host a press conference on how Congress should respond to local and state marijuana legalization nationwide, today, Thursday November 13, at 11:00 a.m. on Capitol Hill, Studio B, House Press Gallery.  The other hosts are Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).  Norton welcomed their support, all of whom have issues with the treatment of their states’ marijuana laws by Congress, but do whose jurisdictions do not face the possibility of congressional meddling like the District.

“I am pleased to stand with my colleagues in a bipartisan response to threats we are already receiving to overturn the will of District of Columbia voters,” Norton said.  “Recent polling shows that 54 percent of people nationwide support marijuana legalization.  The D.C. marijuana legalization ballot initiative, approved by two-thirds of voters, is in line with the majority of Americans.  Even when opinions differ on the underlying issue of marijuana legalization, there is no debate that local laws in this country are for local jurisdictions.”

One Member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), has said he will try to overturn D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative, but Norton said that current polls signal that Harris, whose state has decriminalized marijuana, is not where the American people are.  The District may also have support in the Senate from the 18 states that decriminalized and the 4 states that legalized marijuana, as well as support from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who recently said that D.C. voters alone, not Congress, should decide whether to legalize marijuana. 

The Statement of Administration Policy on the House’s fiscal year 2015 D.C. Appropriations bill said the administration “strongly opposes” the bill’s prohibition on the District spending its own local funds to implement its local marijuana policies because it violates the “principle of States’ rights and of District home rule.”

On November 4, Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Oregon all passed ballot initiatives legalizing the adult, recreational use of marijuana.  Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, 18 states have decriminalized marijuana, and four states have legalized marijuana.  A February 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 54% of Americans support marijuana legalization.