The Washington D.C. City Council voted unanimously this week in favor of reforming the District’s medical cannabis program, Marijuana Moment reports.
The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act, which goes next to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) for her signature, contains language to eliminate license caps for the program and to provide tax relief to medical cannabis operators, among many more reforms.
Officials also approved rules to promote social equity in the industry and establish new business options including on-site consumption and cannabis cooking classes, the report said. Additionally, the reforms package would make permanent a rule change from earlier this year which allows anyone aged 21 or older to self-certify for the medical cannabis program, bypassing the need for a physician’s recommendation.
The rules also create an enforcement path for Washington D.C.’s gifting-based gray market, which has proliferated since Congress first blocked the part of the District’s voter-approved legalization plan which sought to establish a regulated cannabis marketplace (notably, the ban is still present in this year’s annual omnibus spending package, meaning D.C. will see at least another year of Congress neglecting the will of its voters). Under the new measure, any enforcement action by regulators against unlicensed cannabis retailers must be postponed by 315 days from the bill’s enactment.
Ultimately, officials are hopeful that the gray market operators will transition into fully licensed entities:
“What we are doing here is really giving a path for full business recognition for many of our [unlicensed] shops who, to their credit, found a loophole in the law and jumped on it, as many have in many different industries over time. But it is left them in legal limbo.” — Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), via Marijuana Moment
The i-71 Committee — a group of D.C. cannabis advocates supporting equitable, fair, and socially conscious cannabis legislation — released a statement saying it “supports today’s passage of the new, amended version of the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022,” the report said.
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