Many marijuana advocates were hoping D.C. would become the first place on the east coast to fully legalize marijuana, when the voters in D.C. approved the marijuana initiative in November by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
A republican ran congress was able to insert language in a $1.1 trillion spending deal that bars the District from legalizing marijuana. Rather than trying to vote down the marijuana initiative, congress used the power of the purse and placed language in an essential spending bill that would prevent the city from spending any money to enact it.
Many see this as a step backwards from the recent progress marijuana legalization has seen this year. Before decriminalization, studies showed that more than 90 percent of those arrested for possession in the District were black.
Democratic Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, who takes office in January, said she hopes Congress respects the will of city voters, but she has yet to articulate a strategy for how the city would respond to the bill.