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Councilmembers send letter opposing voucher expansion in D.C.

For Immediate Release: 
March 7, 2017
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

Councilmembers send letter opposing voucher expansion in D.C.

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso, chairperson of the Committee on Education, released the following statement regarding a letter he sent with a majority of his colleagues to House of Representatives Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) opposing legislation to reauthorize and expand the Congressionally-imposed school vouchers program:

“Despite ample evidence that the Congressionally-imposed voucher program is ineffective, and while D.C. public schools improve every year, some members of Congress continue to see our city as their personal petri dish. With the new Administration and leadership in the Department of Education, it is even clearer that our public education system is and will remain under attack.

“It is insulting to our constituents that members of Congress, where D.C. has no voting representation, would push their personal agendas on our city in a way they could never do in their home states. Attacking D.C. home rule, including any expansion of the voucher program, is irresponsible governing on the part of Congress.

“Rather than siphoning public dollars into private ventures, we should continue the progress made in our public schools – both traditional and charter – that will put every child in the District of Columbia in the best position to succeed.”




Grosso's position on the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016”

Councilmember Grosso recorded a quick video update on his decision to oppose the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016”--you can read more about his position after the jump.

This legislation amends the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 to clarify that the prohibition of consumption of marijuana in a public space also includes private clubs. It also requires the Mayor to revoke any license, certificate of occupancy, or permit held by an entity that knowingly permits a violation of law concerning the consumption of marijuana in a public space.

I have been a strong proponent of marijuana decriminalization, legalization and regulation in D.C. since I became a member of the Council in 2013. I co-introduced the decriminalization law and actively supported the passage of Initiative 71. But I also introduced measures in 2013 and 2015 to tax and regulate the sale of retail marijuana in D.C. as I strongly believe that it is important for us to setup an equitable system governed by clear rules and regulations if we are truly to limit arrests and dissolve the underground market. As you may know, D.C. is currently under a congressional rider which prohibits the Council and Mayor on moving forward on any measures to tax and/or regulate the legal sale of retail marijuana. I strongly oppose Congressional leadership interfering with D.C.’s ability to govern itself and believe that at times it’s appropriate for us to defy Congress and do what’s right for D.C. residents.

I opposed this legislation because I believe it was a step toward doing just that. My interest in marijuana decriminalization and legalization laws has always been about social justice and ending the arrests and racial disparity in terms of enforcement. In the absences of available venues outside of a private residence for individuals to consume marijuana products legally, the disparity will continue. Further, this matter is currently being debated in the Committee on Judiciary via permanent legislation and I believe the Council should have the opportunity to fully debate before extending this emergency. I believed that my colleagues and I could work together with the Executive to craft an approach to this issue that is measured. Unfortunately, the bill passed today by a vote of 9-4.

I will continue to work on this issue as the full Council prepares to consider this measure at the February 2, 2016 Legislative Meeting. Thank you again for reaching out with your concerns.



Grosso Condemns Congressional Meddling in Omnibus Budget Bill

For Immediate Release
December 18, 2015

Contact:  Keenan Austin
(202) 724-8105


Grosso Condemns Congressional Meddling in Omnibus Budget Bill

Washington, DC -- Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) issued the following statement on the omnibus spending bill to prevent a federal government shutdown:

“It is disappointing that once again the District of Columbia loses at the hands of political gamesmanship in Congress.  Congressional leadership has wrongly interfered with D.C.’s ability to govern itself by attacking the rights of women and families to make their own decisions about pregnancy and blocking the local elected officials from deciding our own drug laws including the legalization of marijuana,” said Grosso.

“It is past time for Congress to stop treating D.C. as a petri dish for members' ideas, and allow the residents to have self determination.”




Grosso to Congress: Don't Blunt D.C.'s Election

For Immediate Release

December 9, 2014

Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun

(202) 724-8105


 Grosso to Congress: Don't Blunt D.C.'s Election

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) issued the following statement on a potential rider on Initiative 71 that House Republicans are negotiating in the omnibus spending bill to prevent a federal government shutdown:

"It is disheartening and frustrating to learn that once again the District of Columbia is being used as a political pawn by the Congress. On Election Day, residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of Initiative 71, which would legalize the limited possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults who are 21 or older. To undermine the vote of the people--taxpayers--does not foster or promote the "limited government" stance House Republicans claim they stand for; it's uninformed paternalistic meddling.

The members of Congress and the residents of the 50 states they represent do not have to deal with the significant and growing collateral consequences of the marijuana arrests and convictions in the District as a result of the failed "War on Drugs". The people have spoken and they have voted. We are tired of a criminal justice system that has too often focused on vengeance and punishment, and does not allow for social and economic reintegration of returning citizens into our communities so that they do not turn to crime again. Initiative 71 was our start for a common sense approach to these issues. It's about social justice.

The District's medical marijuana program was delayed by Congress for over a decade and we will not stand by and allow this to happen again with Initiative 71. I urge the residents of this city to take a stand along with the Council in our continued fight for legislative and budget autonomy and call members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee to ask them to pass a clean CR and leave the District of Columbia out of their politics."

TAKE ACTION: Call and tweet the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to express your frustration with this proposal.

Senate Appropriation Committee:

Chair: Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-MD



(202) 224-4654

Ranking member: Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL


(202) 224-5744


House Appropriations Committee:

Chair: Rep. Hal Rogers, R-KY



(202) 225-4601

Ranking Member: Rep. Nita Lowey, D-NY


(202) 225-6506