City Desk

Congressman Still Not Sure Whether He’ll Try to Block D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization


Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. John Fleming suggested that he might introduce legislation to block D.C.'s new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, telling Roll Call that he wanted to block the legislation because the District is "the only place I have a say." Unfortunately for decriminalization advocates on the edge of their seats, the Louisiana Republican is still deciding whether he should. 

"It's still an option, it's still one of several legislative options he is still considering," Fleming's spokesman, Doug Sachtleben, tells City Desk today. He wouldn't elaborate on those other legislative options.

Fleming's original comments came during the recess of a congressional subcommittee hearing examining the decriminalization bill. Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who led the hearing, has said he will not introduce legislation to quash D.C.'s law.

"He is not planning to introduce legislation to block the bill," says the congressman's legislative director, Brian Waldrip.

Congress has until July to review the law. Even if Fleming does decide to introduce legislation, it would have to pass the House of Representatives, the Democrat-controlled Senate, and be signed by President Barack Obama to be blocked from going into law. That's only happened three times since 1979.

Roll Call reported today that the Senate isn't expected to be too harsh on the D.C. marijuana law, with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, saying he thinks the District should decide its own laws.

Illustration by Carey Jordan

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  • Jose79845

    Fleming will be laughed out of Congress if he tries to block legalization.

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