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Comer signals openness to DC legalizing marijuana sales

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House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he would support Washington, D.C., taxing and regulating legalized marijuana.

Comer told reporters he would support it “if that is what the city wants,” Politico first reported, and his office confirmed to The Hill. His comments come after a meeting with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser focused on local crime.

Nearly two-thirds of D.C. voters favored legalizing marijuana for adult use in a 2014 ballot initiative. In the District, the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana is decriminalized for residents 21 years or older for recreational or medical use, according to the district’s marijuana laws.

Marijuana remains federally illegal, making the issue a legal gray area.

Comer’s comments differ from congressional Republicans’ views on marijuana sales in the past.

In March 2022, the GOP preserved a years-old provision known as the Harris rider, which bars the legalization of recreational sales. Local officials have pushed Congress to remove the rider by arguing that the cash-only market has caused more robberies and other violent crime.

Bowser and other local officials have been criticized after crime shot up across the district this year.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) was carjacked outside his Navy Yard apartment in October. In February, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) was attacked and assaulted in her D.C. apartment building’s elevator.

In early November, Bowser announced that D.C. will be handing out free digital tracking tags for vehicles, as car thefts have skyrocketed in the city.

Crime in the District has steadily increased over the last year and has largely surpassed last year’s totals in nearly every category.


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