Backers of Initiative 71, which would legalize the possession and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and up in our nation’s capitol, say they are just a few days from submitting 60,000 signatures to get their proposal on the November ballot.
That is, if the U.S. Congress lets them.
Six years ago, activists for a similar petition were shot down before they could even get the votes counted. This time around, supporters say they’ve collected nearly 40,000 more signatures than are needed they won’t be ignored. Polls also show D.C. residents favor legalization by a 2 to 1 margin.
But signs aren’t looking good for the group. Last week, Congress agreed to block the district from moving forward with a plan that decriminalized cannabis possession and made it a $25 fine with an amendment to a multi-billion dollar spending plan. Adam Eidinger, organizer for the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, says he fears the worse.
“It’s violating our rights as District residents, and I’m just afraid it’s going to happen all over again,” Eidinger tells the Washington Post. “If we can just get this on the ballot . . . then we’ll have a vote. That’s my immediate concern.”
His biggest fear is that Congress will pass the spending bill before the November 4 elections, setting a precedent that could mean the votes would again go uncounted.
As written, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign measure would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of herb by adults 21 and up. Adults would also be allowed to cultivate up to three pot plants at home. Retail sales and sales between consenting adults would not be permitted under the plan.