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When Initiative 71—the ballot initiative to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the District—was overwhelmingly approved by D.C. voters, it seemed as if there weren't too many opponents.
In fact, up until the end of the summer, no one had really voiced their opposition of legalizing marijuana in D.C. But in August, a group called TIE D.C., which stands for "Two Is Enough, D.C." (meaning that alcohol and tobacco are enough legal substances in the District), formally launched their campaign to dissuade local voters from voting to legalize marijuana in the District. But, as it turns out, their campaign wasn't entirely legal.
According to documents from the Office of Campaign Finance obtained by DCist, TIE. D.C. was in violation of several campaign finance laws, including failure to officially register as a political committee, failure to file a financial report, and failure to include proper language on its campaign literature.
In response to the allegations against TIE D.C., head William Jones testified in a recent hearing with the OCF that "TIE D.C. was nothing more than a blog that he started to inform the public about the proposed initiative by voting against it." Jones also stated that he was the chairperson for the "No On 71" initiative, which he argued was the political committee he started to officially campaign against marijuana legalization.
But on September 17, 2014, TIE D.C. officially launched what was perceived to be a bona fide campaign. They even held a press conference outside of the Bible Way Church to announce their campaign. "T.I.E. D.C. is committed to protecting these communities and the rest of the city from the consequences of legalizing a third recreational drug," Jones said at the presser in September.
According to the OCF's allegations, TIE D.C. "may have begun as a blog, but it eventually became a full scale political movement, which was required to register with the OCF," but it never did. Moreover, the OCF says that TIE D.C. never filed a receipt and expenditure report, which any organization or committee raising funds for campaigning are supposed to do.
In the OCF's report, Jones says that TIE D.C. never collected any "therefore they were not obligated to file a financial report." But the OCF says the TIE D.C. website explicitly solicited donations through a PayPay "donate" button (that's since been removed from the website), and thus "raises the presumptions that it is more likely than not that [it] collected contributions.
originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: lordcomac
TIE DC isn't a corporation. It's just a bunch of stooges using campaign money to try to get people to vote against reality. Though the people behind TIE DC are likely shills for the big corporations that oppose ending prohibition.
Harris and his allies point out that Initiative 71 will not take effect until it survives congressional review, which does not begin until D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson officially submits the measure to Congress. At that point, Congress has 30 legislative days to pass a joint resolution rejecting the initiative. If Congress fails to pass a resolution during the review period, the initiative takes effect automatically.
Since this process of submission and review entails some use of public money, wouldn't it be blocked by Harris' rider? Maybe not. There is a difference, after all, between enacting a measure and making it effective. A law passed this year might not take effect until next year, but that does not mean it was not enacted this year. The Harris rider only bars enactment of Initiative 71, Norton says, and it's too late for that.
That looks like a pretty strong argument to me, since the District of Columbia Home Rule Act says a ballot initiative "shall take effect" at the end of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval has been enacted by then. If Congress does pass a resolution and the president signs it, the resolution "shall be deemed to have repealed" the initiative. You cannot repeal a law that was never enacted. Although Harris claims his rider "prevents the ultimate enactment of the ballot initiative," that seems like a stretch. Lawyers at D.C.'s Office of the Attorney General are examining the question but have not reached any conclusions yet.
Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), agrees with Norton's analysis. "While Initiative 71 won't take effect until after the Council transmits it to Congress in January and it goes through an administrative 30-day review period," he says, "it has very clearly already been enacted by the voters." DPA notes that Democratic leaders in the House, "including members who were part of the funding bill negotiations," have said "the D.C. rider allows Initiative 71 to stand."
If Norton is right, the Harris rider, which applies through next September, will not stop Initiative 71 from taking effect, although it will prevent the District from licensing and regulating marijuana businesses, since that would require new legislation. Because of restrictions on the legal changes that can be made by ballot measure in D.C., the initiative does not address commercial production and distribution. If it takes effect, homegrown marijuana will be the only legal source, so cannabis consumers who want to stay within the law but are not up to cultivating plants will have to cultivate friends who are.
originally posted by: lordcomac
Not really looking to argue- these laws have no effect on me either way
I just find it pretty funny how much big company money gets involved in making laws designed to govern the people, who supposedly are allowed to vote for what they do and do not want.
As far as I can tell, all of the changes in my local government over the last few years that have an impact on my life happened without anyone so much as telling me, let alone asking what I wanted.
Living with government is a delicate dance with a rhino, it would seem. Make a wrong move and you get the horns, don't move when they expect you to and you get the hoof. Of course, that rhino is on strings now and seems to have lost its rhythm. I'm growing weary of getting my toes stepped on.
originally posted by: lordcomac
but last I checked someone further up the chain blocked the whole thing from going through anyway.