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Pot Politics? D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray Urges Residents To Boycott Eastern Shore

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(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Rick Ritter joined WJZ Eyewitness News in May 2014 as ...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — There’s a controversy brewing down the ocean this Fourth of July weekend.

Washington, D.C.’s mayor is suggesting D.C. residents should boycott Ocean City. That’s because of Eastern Shore Congressman Andy Harris’ position on legalizing marijuana.

Rick Ritter has details on the feud.

The mayor is pushing hard for a boycott along with D.C. voting activists. The popular shore town is already feeling the effects.

Ocean City–the heart of the Eastern Shore and just hours away from one of its busiest weekends of the year–takes a slap in the face from D.C. voting activists.

“It’s hypocrisy at its worst in my opinion,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

Some small businesses already feel the impact of a boycott.

D.C. residents are emailing hotels, canceling stays and urging owners to call Republican Congressman Andy Harris and tell him to stop meddling in the district’s affairs.

“This was so egregious,” Harris said.

Call it trading punches. Congressman Harris attacked an amendment to a House budget bill that would overturn the city’s marijuana decriminalization law.

“Our constitution is very specific on how the federal enclave of the District of Columbia is to be treated,” said Harris.

Mayor Vincent Gray says it’s irritating because it’s coming from a congressman whose own state in Maryland decriminalized weed.

“Disrespectful and undemocratic,” said Gray.

He feels Harris’ actions are an unwarranted attack.

“We ought to be allowed to manage our own affairs,” Gray said.

WJZ tried reaching out to Ocean City’s mayor to get his take on the boycott, but he declined to comment.

There’s no denying the numbers. Ocean City depends heavily on the summer, averaging just under 350,000 visitors a weekend, compared to just 7,000 residents year round.

Harris doesn’t seem concerned and even took to social media Thursday, tweeting: “I’m heading to the shore from D.C. and traffic is really heavy–too many D.C. plates.”

But this feud is just getting started.

“They ought to spend their time dealing with the drug problem in D.C.,” Harris said.

Mayor Gray says he’s not officially calling for a boycott, but urges every American who cares about fairness to stand up to what he calls bullying.

A national nonprofit activist group called D.C. Vote is leading the push for a boycott.

D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill is in the middle of a 60-day congressional review.

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