On Tuesday the D.C. Council bill to tax and regulate marijuana was approved by the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs. The bill would provide the basic framework for licensing recreational marijuana businesses and retail stores in D.C. While Initiative 71 was approved overwhelmingly by voters earlier this month, that initiative will only legalize limited possession and home cultivation for adults.
The bill still must go before two more committees before it reaches the full committee and there is not enough time to do that by the end of the year. Council member David Grosso is, though, trying to do as much work as possible this year so a new version of the bill can move as quickly as possible at the beginning of next year.
If a tax and regulate bill is approved by the Council early next year, it still must under go Congressional review. Even though the 650,000 people living in D.C. have no vote in Congress, the federal government has the power to override any local laws adopted in the district. Any bill approved by the D.C. council only becomes law if Congress doesn’t interfere during the 30 legislative day review period.
Assuming everything goes well, D.C. could have a law to tax and regulate marijuana by spring.