Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Oversight Committee, is extremely nervous that Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is going to allow marijuana to be legalized in the nation's capital.
"Federal law, signed by the president, confirms that D.C. cannot move forward," Chaffetz said in an interview with the Washington Post. "If they are under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We're not playing a little game here."
The warning was accompanied by a letter written by Chaffetz and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), which emphasized that to legalize the drug would be "in knowing and willful violation of the law." The implementation of Initiative 71 could lead to a legal skirmish between the city and the federal government, they fear.
"We believe that we're acting lawfully," Bowser responded on live television. "I have a lot of things to do in the District of Columbia. Me being in jail wouldn't be a good thing." She reaffirmed that marijuana would become legal in small amounts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning.
The Washington Post's Aaron C. Davis and Peter Hermann report:
[Bowser and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier] said District residents and visitors will be able to possess as much as two ounces of marijuana, a large sandwich bag's worth. Residents will also be able to cultivate the plant in their homes -- up to six seedlings each, with up to three plants grown to maturity. Marijuana paraphernalia, including pipes, bongs and rolling papers, will be legal.
"Residents spoke loud and clear when they voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia," Bowser said. Now, authorities must "implement [the law] in a safe, fair and transparent way."