|Boston Public Library Flickr edited by Toke of the Town.|
As we reported back in June, Maryland state Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican, is spearheading a move that would block the decriminalization of limited amounts of marijuana in Washington D.C.
But many, including D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray see it as a shot to D.C.’s home rule and Democrat-controlled city council. Now Gray is urging all D.C. residents to boycott Maryland’s beaches and resort towns.
“He is interfering with democracy in this city, and we want people to understand how we feel about it,” tells the New York Times this week. He says Harris and other part-time residents politicians of his ilk need to stop meddling in the business of D.C.’s full-time residents. He says Harris is merely grandstanding for voters in his home state. “These are things people can’t even do in their own home states, and they use the District of Columbia to make an example out of us.”
Harris has said the $25 fine is too low and that the law should include marijuana treatment program funding. He also opposes the one-ounce limit, saying it’s just too much pot.
“One ounce can be almost 100 joints,” he told the Times. “That is not a small amount. Society has some responsibility for protecting minors. I think the D.C. law protects them in no way, shape or form.”
But D.C. lawmakers do (they passed the measure on a 10 to 1 vote), and Harris isn’t one of them. Nor does he live in D.C. He merely works there.
“Shouldn’t the people of the District of Columbia in a democracy be permitted to make decisions?” Gray said, pointing out that D.C. has more people than the states of Vermont and Wyoming.
Other lawmakers agree.
“The D.C. voters elected people. They made the decision, and it seems to me that we ought to respect that,” Rep. James P. Moran, a Democrat from Virginia said in June. “It just doesn’t seem right that the Eastern Shore of Maryland can reach over into D.C. and make laws for D.C. It’s not the way this country is supposed to function.”
Harris’s amendment was attached as a rider to a much larger spending bill and prevents DC from using any money to “to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any” controlled substance, including marijuana.