A marijuana plant. (Courtesy photo/britannica.com)

The District suffered a setback in its effort to legalize recreational sales of marijuana recently.

The U.S. Congress passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill including a rider by U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that prohibits the sale of recreational weed in the city. The ban on recreational pot sales has been in place for nearly seven years.

Published reports indicated congressional Democrats didn’t want the ban in the spending bill but had to make some concessions to Republicans to get it passed in order to avoid a federal government shutdown. In a statement, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) expressed disappointment that the Harris rider was attached to the bill.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) expressed his unhappiness with Congress’s action, also.

“Our ability to regulate the sale and distribution of cannabis in the District encourages the existence and expansion of illegal, so-called pop-ups where marijuana is sold illegally,” Mendelson said in a statement.

Additionally, recreational sales supporters said the Harris rider overrides the will of D.C. residents who lack full voting representation in Congress, years after they voted to legalize pot.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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