Pot Becomes Legal in DC Despite Threat to Jail Mayor

Muriel Bowser unfazed by GOP warning
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2015 2:58 AM CST
Updated Feb 26, 2015 7:03 AM CST
Pot Becomes Legal in DC Despite Threat to Jail Mayor
Posters encouraging people to vote yes on DC Ballot Initiative 71 to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use are readied in Washington last year.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Recreational marijuana became legal in Washington DC at a minute after midnight, but some House GOP leaders were already fuming. In a stern letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz warned that city officials who allowed voter-approved legalization to go ahead would be doing so in "knowing and willful violation of the law," reports the Washington Post. Chaffetz, whose committee oversees DC affairs, argues that language in a funding bill from December blocks legalization, the Guardian reports. "You can go to prison for this. We're not playing a little game here," the Utah Republican tells the Post.

Bowser appeared unfazed by warnings that allowing the law to proceed could land her in prison under the federal Antideficiency Act, the Hill reports. "I have a lot of things to do in the District of Columbia—me being in jail wouldn't be a good thing," she told reporters yesterday. Pot became legal in Alaska on Tuesday, and DC's new law has a lot in common with the state's, USA Today reports. Residents of the capital over 21 years old are allowed to grow up to six plants, but they can't buy or sell marijuana or smoke it in public—and since it remains illegal on the approximately 25% of DC that's federal land, the nation's lawmakers won't be allowed to use it in their offices. (More Muriel Bowser stories.)

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