D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton told hundreds of attendees of a marijuana festival in the District that she will fight for their right to smoke the herb and wants to commercialize it, just as other states can do.
“If D.C. becomes the 51st state, you wouldn’t have to worry about smoking pot in D.C.,” Norton said. “The people in 11 states have cannabis rights and we should have those rights, too. The Congress doesn’t need to worry about us.”
Norton has introduced the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2019, which would permit the use of marijuana in federally assisted housing, including public housing and Section 8 housing, in compliance with the marijuana laws of the state where the property sits. Federal law allows residents of federal public housing projects to be evicted.
While some states have legalized the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, the federal government has not.
“Individuals living in federally funded housing should not fear eviction simply for treating their medical conditions or for seeking a substance legal in their state,” the delegate said in an issued statement.
At the National Cannabis Festival on the grounds of RFK Stadium on April 20, Norton told the crowd that they can possess legally two ounces of marijuana, but lamented that the District lacks the power to regulate because of congressional interference.
“When we can’t regulate, where will people go?” she said. “They will go to the illegal market and that isn’t good. Why not legalize it so the District can tax it? We can tax pot like everything else.”
Norton, noting that 71 percent of District residents voted to legalize marijuana and the D.C. Council has also supported that action, sent a message to her colleagues on Capitol Hill.
“I am putting the Congress on notice that we will not stop residents and tourists smoking what everybody else smokes,” she said defiantly.