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D.C. Mayor Bowser on MSNBC’s ‘Maddow’ show: Pot legalization ‘is in force’

FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2015 file photo, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks after taking the oath of office at the District of Columbia Mayoral Inauguration ceremony at the Convention Center in Washington. Possession of marijuana will become legal in the nation's capital, Mayor Muriel Bowser reiterated Wednesday, defying a threat from Congress that she and other city leaders could face prison time for implementing a voter-approved initiative. Bowser, a Democrat, said the city's plans haven't changed despite a letter from two leading House Republicans warning of repercussions if the city moves forward with legalization, which was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON – D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser took to the national media on Thursday night to deliver a straightforward message regarding marijuana legalization in the District, and to stump for D.C. statehood.

“I’m the mayor of the District of Columbia,” Bowser told Rachel Maddow on Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC; “I was elected, and my job is to implement the people’s law. The people changed the law, and it’s my job to implement it.”

On MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Maddow ran down the recent conflict between Republican congressmen on the House committee that oversees D.C. and the District government in the wake of the passage in November of Initiative 71, which legalized the growth and use, but not the sale, of marijuana.

Jason Chaffetz, of Utah; Andy Harris, of Maryland, and Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, have been outspoken in their disapproval of Initiative 71, going so far as to threaten Bowser and other government officials with prison and to demand the names and other information of District employees who help to implement the law.

Bowser said, “Some people feel very strongly at the Congress, and they are speaking loudly. But our residents also spoke loud and clear last November.”

Maddow asked whether Bowser foresaw other types of retribution coming from Congress. Bowser replied, “The Congress well knows how to stop things when they want to stop things,” referring to Congressional moves to block abortion laws, clean needle exchanges and medical marijuana.

“The answer for us, of course, is statehood, so that Americans who live and pay taxes in the District of Columbia can have a voting member of Congress … and two senators.”

Bowser added that “We’ve been especially antagonized” by Harris. “They’ve threatened to harass us” and hold up state aid. “that are due us just like any other state.” She claims that Harris’s constituents “would much rather have his attention on their issues.”

When Maddow pointed out that the question of what is and isn’t allowed in D.C. was complicated, Bowser quickly interjected, “It was complicated by Andy Harris.

“The voters were very clear in what they wanted to approve: home growth, home use by adults, although she added, “I think it was the expectation” that the council would be able to pass some regulations regarding the sale of marijuana.

Still, she was unequivocal: “The will of the voters is being realized, because Initiative 71 is in force in the District of Columbia.”

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