DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Marijuana Vote Count Delayed
In a "setback" for lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and the District of Columbia, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts yesterday denied a motion to allow D.C. election officials to tabulate and release the results of last week's vote on Initiative 59, the District's medical marijuana initiative. The Washington Post reports that the lawyers argued that a recently-passed congressional amendment "violates the First Amendment rights of D.C. residents to vote and be heard on an important issue." D.C. Corporation Counsel John Ferren said, "Every day we are not having these ballots counted, our rights are violated." Last month, Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) sponsored the amendment to the D.C. Appropriations Bill, prohibiting the District from "spending money on any initiative that would 'legalize or otherwise reduce' penalties for users of marijuana." The lawyers were thwarted in their effort to secure a "temporary restraining order to learn the results," after the federal judge "said he wants to take a comprehensive look at the legal issues stemming from" the congressional amendment. Roberts set a hearing date for Dec. 18, frustrating D.C. officials with a five- week hold on the information (Miller, Washington Post, 11/10). Click here for coverage of the medical marijuana issue in California.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.