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Norton Applauds Mayor for Not Sending Policy Official to Testify at Hearing on D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Bill; Witnesses Announced

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Following the release of the witness list for this week's hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Operations on legislation passed by the District of Columbia decriminalizing marijuana, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) applauded D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray for not providing a policy official to testify at the hearing, and instead sending a law enforcement official as a courtesy.

"The District should not have to explain to Congress how local policy is formulated, and I applaud Mayor Gray for doing all he can to keep Congress out of our city's business," said Norton. "We resent that this hearing is being held, considering that 18 states have decriminalized marijuana, and that at the subcommittee's other two hearings on marijuana policy, no local or state official was called."

The hearing, on May 8, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, will consist of two panels. Norton will be the only witness on the first panel, and the second panel of witnesses includes Peter Newsham, Assistant Chief, Metropolitan Police Department; Robert MacLean, Acting Chief, United States Park Police; David O'Neil, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and Seema Sadanandan, Program Director, American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital.

While the subcommittee has held two hearings this Congress to examine how the Obama administration will enforce the federal prohibition on marijuana in jurisdictions that have legalized or decriminalized it, local witnesses have not been called. The first hearing's witness was Michael Botticelli, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The second hearing's witnesses were Thomas Harrigan, Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and John Walsh, U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado.

Norton said that she appreciates that she will be allowed to testify at the hearing, unlike the denial of this courtesy by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on a bill that would have banned abortions, only in D.C., after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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