After the measure’s passage, marijuana proponents issued a statement asking for the mayor to issue a moratorium on all possession arrests while the measure undergoes congressional review — a process standard for all D.C. legislation. A spokesman for Mr. Gray said he would have to review the proposal before commenting.
While the review period for most D.C. bills takes 30 legislative days, the marijuana bill will undergo a 60-day review because it changes the city’s criminal code. During that time, federal lawmakers could file a disapproval resolution that both chambers of Congress and the president would have to approve in order to block the measure.
James Jones, a spokesman for D.C. Vote, said he has heard of no intent by lawmakers to block the bill.
In a statement issued Tuesday after the vote, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting congressional representative, said she expected no challenge to the measure but would defend the District’s right to pass such legislation.
“In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect Members of Congress to interfere with D.C.’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization,” Ms. Norton said.
Other efforts are working toward outright legalization of the drug in the city.
D.C. Council member David Grosso, at-large independent, has introduced legislation that would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana, and activists are working to get an initiative before D.C. voters that would allow for home cultivation.
While activists plan to pursue those broader initiatives, they praised the steps the D.C. Council took Tuesday.
“Council members heard the public’s demand that marijuana arrests end and have passed model legislation that is one of the strongest marijuana decriminalization laws in the whole country,” said Grant Smith, policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance.