No Plans to Legalize Pot, Barry Says
Does D.C. Council member Marion Barry want to legalize marijuana in the District?
He says no, but Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, said a caller who identified themselves as being from Barry's office called him last month to inquire how to legalize pot in the District.
"They were wanting to know about decriminalization laws, are they effective?" Pierre recalls. "They wanted to know has the District ever done this before? What is the resistance at the federal level? Did we know if the Obama administration is going to be lax about these sorts of things."
Pierre said he does not remember the staffer's name, but was told "to be ready to present them with white papers and positions papers."
But at yesterday's Council meeting, Barry said in a brief interview he did not know anything about the call. Barry, who previously supported unsuccessful efforts to legalize medical marijuana in the 1990s, said he has no plans to push for decriminalization.
Bernadette Tolson, Barry's chief of staff, also recently said she was unaware of the call.
Even if Barry or another council member were to consider reforms to District drug laws, they would first have to lobby Congress to overturn the Barr Amendment, which prevents the city from decreasing penalties for marijuana use and possession. The amendment is named after former GOP Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who blocked the city's medial marijuana initiative in 1998.
After leaving Congress in 2003, Barr modified his stance on drugs. He now supports medical marijuana.
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