Providing for Consideration of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 83, Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Developmentby Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton
Posted on 2014-12-11
NORTON. Madam Speaker, I thank my good friend for all of her hard
work on this bill.
District of Columbia voters passed the most restrictive marijuana legalization law in the country, Initiative 71, allowing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use only. Four States have legalized marijuana. The city was motivated by two independent studies revealing shameful racial disparities, disparities that are endemic, by the way, in the rest of the country as well in marijuana possession arrests. Ninety percent of marijuana arrests here are of African Americans, though Blacks and Whites use marijuana at the same rate in a city that is 50-50 Black and White.
Do not expect residents to tolerate unequal treatment of the District of Columbia, a jurisdiction of Federal tax-paying Americans, and, on top of that, discrimination against African Americans who live here.
I am trying to find a way around the antidemocratic language in the bill that bullies the District of Columbia. Congress must find its way out of the local affairs of the residents of the District, who pay the highest Federal taxes per capita in the United States, while the Member who represents them must stand by and watch every Member of this House vote on a matter affecting her district, except the Member who represents the District of Columbia.