Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut.) announced this week that he was introducing legislation disapproving of the District’s plan to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.
In a statement, Chaffetz said, “I am opposed to legislative and legal efforts to reclassify or decriminalize the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a psychotropic drug classified under Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act as having â€˜high potential for abuse,â€™ â€˜no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,â€™ and a â€˜lack of accepted safety for use of the drugâ€¦under medical supervision.â€™ While certain of these principles may be open to significant debate within segments of the medical community, and among pro-legalization/decriminalization groups, I am opposed to re-classification and decriminalization efforts.”
His effort to disapprove of the District initiative â€” a right reserved to all members of Congress, who are given 30 days to review all District laws â€” stands virtually no chance of passing, given the Democratic control of not only the House and Senate, but also the White House. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Chaffetz, the ranking Republican on the House committee that oversees the District, won’t try to attach riders or insert prohibitions in the city’s budget at some point in the near future.
Earlier this year, Chaffetz introduced legislation that would have forced the District to hold a public vote on whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. Clearly no one on his staff pointed out the obvious contradiction with his most recent effort to interfere in local affairs, given that medical marijuana was approved by 69 percent of District voters in a 1998 referendum before being shelved by then Georgia Republican Bob Barr (who subsequently changed his mind on the whole thing, no less). Apparently we should only vote on things that Republicans from fringe districts believe in.
The legislation legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in the District was submitted to Congress on June 4, and is expected to make it out by late July. Once the system is in place, anywhere from five to eight dispensaries around the city will offer qualifying patients small amounts of marijuana for their ailments. And if things go my way, dispensaries will double as chapels for same-sex weddings, if only to see Chaffetz’s head explode at the mere thought of it.