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Washington, D.C. marijuana legalization effort has enough signatures for November vote

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Backers of legal marijuana in Washington have enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum that faces potential hurdles in Congress, the initiative’s head said on Tuesday.

Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign, said it had collected more than 55,000 signatures to put the measure on a Nov. 4 ballot in the U.S. capital, well above the 22,373 required by law.

“We really have a nice cushion of extra signatures, so this should qualify for the ballot,” he said.

The petition is part of a U.S. trend to reduce penalties for marijuana. The proposed measure would allow people 21 and older to possess up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of marijuana for personal use.

They also could grow up to three plants at home. The legislation does not allow for the sale of marijuana.

The referendum could face opposition from Congress, which under the U.S. Constitution has oversight power over the District of Columbia.

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The Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives last week moved to block a District law that would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of pot.

The House committee approved a spending bill that included an amendment barring the District from spending money to legalize or reduce penalties for marijuana.

Under the bill, the elections board could be barred from printing ballots that include the marijuana legalization measure.

Eidinger said he was hopeful the Democrat-controlled Senate would remove the marijuana amendment. The November election likely would take place before the spending bill went through Congress and was signed by President Barack Obama, he said.

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Eidinger said the legalization petition had received its strongest support in black sections of Washington. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union has shown that blacks in the city are eight times more likely to be arrested for pot than people of other races.

The legalization campaign will submit the signatures to the District of Columbia Board of Elections on Monday.

Two U.S. states, Washington and Colorado, allow recreational marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. Voters in Alaska are slated to vote on legalization in November.

Supporters of an Oregon initiative to legalize recreational marijuana said last week they had submitted enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot.[ID:nL2N0P7294]

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jim Loney)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Get your fax right: Bungling officials spark Japan nuclear scare

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Bungling Japanese officials sparked a nuclear scare after a violent, late-night earthquake by ticking the wrong box on a fax form -- inadvertently alerting authorities to a potential accident.

Employees of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata -- where the 6.4-magnitude quake struck -- faxed a message to local authorities seeking to allay any fears of damage.

But TEPCO workers accidentally ticked the wrong box on the form, mistakenly indicating there was an abnormality at the plant rather than there was no problem.

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Who are the four men charged with downing of MH17?

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International investigators have charged three Russians and one Ukrainian with murder over the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 above rebel-held eastern Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.

Here are the four suspects named by the Dutch-led team on Wednesday.

- Igor Girkin -

Igor Girkin -- also known by his pseudonym "Strelkov" -- is the most high-profile suspect.

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Viewers revolt after Meghan McCain slurs Joy Behar: ‘Go back to Fox News’

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Meghan McCain dropped the B-word on air during an argument with Joy Behar, and social media users were just as shocked as the "The View" studio audience.

She and co-host Joy Behar were arguing over Trump supporters when McCain blew up.

“Being the sacrificial Republican every day,” she said. “I’m just trying to — don’t feel bad for me, bitch. I’m paid to do this, okay? Don’t feel bad for me.”

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