GOP Congressman Threatens to Block DC Decrim Law

Even as the House held a first hearing on the District of Columbia's recently passed decriminalization law, at least one Republican congressman is threatening to file legislation to undo it. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) told CQ Roll Call he plans to introduce a congressional resolution to overturn it.

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA). Maybe he should worry about Shreveport. (house.gov)
The hearing came in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Operations, chaired by Rep. John Mica (R-FL). Mica said his views on the issue were "evolving" and that he might hold additional hearings on the law.

Because Washington, DC, is a federal district, Congress has powers it can exercise over its governance. Under the law, Congress has 60 days to block the law from taking effect. That would require the approval of the House, the Senate, and the president.

Still, DC supporters and marijuana reform supporters are fighting back in an increasingly heated war of words.

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) scolded the subcommittee, saying it was inappropriate for the House to hold a hearing on only the District's law when "18 states have decriminalized marijuana, 21 states have legalized medical marijuana and two states have legalized marijuana."

"It's outrageous that Congress is trying to sabotage DC's success in ending marijuana arrests," said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance. "Congress should follow the lead of lawmakers in DC and reform federal marijuana laws."

The decrim bill (Council Bill 20-409) passed the council on a 10-1 vote and was signed by Mayor Vincent Gray prior to its transmission to Congress. It eliminates the threat of arrest for possessing marijuana and ensures that people are no longer saddled with life-long convictions that make it difficult to obtain employment and housing.

The legislation also prohibits law enforcement from using the smell of marijuana as grounds for stopping and searching a person. Instead of arresting people, the bill would impose a $25 civil fine for possession as well as forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia used to consume or carry it. It is widely viewed as a model for other jurisdictions looking to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

"It is inexcusable that congressional time and resources are being spent to criticize local officials for eliminating racist and ineffective marijuana laws when large swaths of the American public support an end to marijuana prohibition," added Smith. "Members of Congress like Rep. John Fleming who say they are earnest about advancing public health and safety should take a hard look at the devastation wrought by marijuana prohibition."

If some Republican congressmembers are unhappy with DC's decrim bill, they are going to be in an absolute snit if and when District voters decide to outright legalize marijuana. The DC Cannabis Campaign legalization ballot initiative is in the signature-gathering phase right now and should easily qualify for the November ballot.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Videos

Part 3 shows the most recent hearing, as described above Mixed Signals: The Administration’s Policy on Marijuana Part 1:February 04, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Buildinghttp://oversight.house.gov/hearing/mixed-signals-administrations-policy-marijuana/ Witness and Testimony Documents Mr. Michael Botticelli, Deputy Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy  Part 2: March 04, 2014 | 1:30 p.m. in 2247 Rayburn House Office Buildinghttp://oversight.house.gov/hearing/mixed-signals-administrations-stance-marijuana-part-two/ Witness and Testimony Documents The Honorable Thomas M. Harrigan, Deputy Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration The Honorable John F. Walsh, U.S. Attorney, Colorado, Department of Justice   Part 3: May 09, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Buildinghttp://oversight.house.gov/hearing/mixed-signals-administrations-policy-marijuana-part-three/ Witness and Testimony Documents The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, Representative for the District of Columbia, U.S. House of Representatives Mr. Peter Newsham, Assistant Chief Metropolitan Police Department Mr. Robert D. MacLean, Acting Chief, United States Park Police   Mr. David A. O’Neil, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice Ms. Seema Sadanandan, Program Director, American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital

Ol` John

Yea , John looks like he joined the Donald Trump hair club . Pay a redneck to shoot & skin a fox for your head . What business is it of his anyway ? What is his connection to the residents of D.C. ? The people of Louisiana sent him to D.C. to get `rit of him . Good bye . Now look .!?.

John Calvin Fleming, Jr. (R-LA) is a Prohibitionist Parasite

All we need to know about John Fleming (from Wiki):

From 1979 to 1981, he was the director of drug and alcohol treatment and chairman of the Navy Family Advocacy Committee. He subsequently performed similar duties in Charleston, South Carolina.

Fleming previously worked with chemically dependent persons through the program called "New Beginnings" at the Minden Medical Center.

His book, Preventing Addiction: What Parents Must Know to Immunize Their Kids Against Drug And Alcohol Addiction, was published in 2006.

The treatment industry’s bottom line will be affected as court diversions to drug treatment for marijuana arrestees cease.  As the hysteria over marijuana ends, John Fleming will increasingly find himself immersed in conflict and controversy over the way he and the drug treatment industry have operated. 

Drug treatment for marijuana has been one of the biggest government frauds perpetrated on the American citizen.  We will continue to see people like Louisiana Congressman John Fleming vainly defend their malignant professional legacy against a tidal wave of support from citizens demanding legal reform.

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