WASHINGTON (DC News Now) Could D.C. Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser and Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer be finding common ground?
The House Oversight Committee chairman signaled on Tuesday at a hearing featuring Bowser her police chief and others that he may be willing to work on issues of taxing marijuana and helping D.C. with the dilapidated RFK stadium site.
“The taxing of marijuana, for example, I didn’t know what the law was on that. We’re researching that,” he said at the end of the hearing held to discuss the District’s crime problems. “I know you that you have a lot of big issues coming forward, opportunities in Washington D.C., a new arena.”
The mayor would like to lure the Washington Commanders back to the federally-owned RFK stadium where the team used to play and also legalize the sale and taxation of marijuana which could generate millions for the District in revenue.
“That’s something we would pledge to work with you and your office on,” Comer said. “
Something that I think would be beneficial to the city.”
The mayor declined to comment Wednesday through her spokeswoman but said after that hearing that most of the committee members “have legal marijuana regimes in their states that allow for tax regulation.”
If taxed, Bowser said, it takes away “what can be a dangerous and violent cash-only system of gray market marijuana sales, which is what we’re experiencing now.”
Legalizing marijuana has a serious hurdle in D.C., which originated in 2015 with the so-called Harris Rider, an eight-year ban on legalizing it for sale and named after Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris.
Some like Norbert Pickett, the owner of Canabliss Dispensary in D.C., know that it’s a tall order for Congressional Republicans to support the measure, but are pleased with Comer’s comments.
“If this is an indication that they want to lift the Harris rider, I honestly welcome that,” he said. “The Harris Rider needs to be lifted in order for there to be significant change.”
Elizabeth Hunter of D.C. said it all sounds too good to be true, especially from Congressional Republicans who traditionally haven’t been supportive of the District.
“I just don’t think the Republicans are really willing to work with the mayor on these particular issues,” Hunter said. “I think it would do great. It would bring in more money. The mayor is talking about bringing people back into the city of D.C.”