U.S.: Acting Drug Czar Agrees Congress Shouldn't Interfere In DC Marijuana Legalization


In response to a question from a Marijuana Policy Project staffer, Michael Botticelli — whom the U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Monday as the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — said he supports the Administration’s current policy of allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult and/or medical use.

During an event hosted on Friday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, acting U.S. Drug Czar Botticelli said he agrees Congress should not interfere in the District of Columbia’s decision to make marijuana legal for adults.

In response to a question from MPP Federal Policies Director Dan Riffle, Botticelli said: “The President, as it relates to the District, I think was very clear that the District should stick to its home rule. As a resident of the District, I might not agree about legalization, but I do agree with our own ability to spend our own money the way that we want to do that.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Botticelli on Monday as the next director of the White House ONDCP. He received unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Also on Monday, the Council of the District of Columbia is scheduled to hold a joint committee hearing on a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol in the nation’s capital. It will begin at 10 a.m. ET in the John A. Wilson Building, Room 500 (1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW).

“It’s refreshing to hear that the our potential future drug czar agrees the District should be able to establish its own marijuana policies," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "A majority of D.C. voters and a majority of Americans think it’s time to end marijuana prohibition, and an even larger majority think the federal government should not interfere in states that choose to do so.

“We’re sorry to hear he is opposed to making marijuana legal for adults, but at least he agrees states and the District should be able to," Tvert said. "This is a big step for someone who works in an office that has for decades gone out of its way to keep marijuana illegal everywhere and at any cost."