The Washington, D.C. City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill to allow medical cannabis patients with expired program ID cards to continue using the cards through the end of January, DCist reports. The proposal had included provisions to ramp up enforcement on cannabis “gifting” in the District, but those were removed prior to the vote.
The bill also creates two-year medical cannabis ID cards — instead of the current one-year cards — and increases the amount of cannabis medical patients can purchase from four ounces to eight.
The gifting enforcement provisions were removed following an outcry from shops and advocates but City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who introduced the legislation, said the practice would have to be addressed eventually, the report says.
Councilmember Janeese Lewis George thanked Mendelson for removing the gifting enforcement proposals from the bill, saying they needed more public comment and that lawmakers could consider the fate of gifting when they consider the bill to allow adult-use cannabis sales — that bill is set for a public hearing later this month.
Even if the council passes the law to allow cannabis sales to adults, it would not be implemented unless Congress removes the so-called Harris Rider which prevents adult-use sales in D.C. despite voters approving the reforms in 2014.
The decision to extend the validity of expired medical cannabis ID cards and create two-year cards comes after more than 6,000 of D.C.’s 12,000 registered patients lost access to the program after the city’s pandemic-related public emergency ended which had allowed patients with expired cards to continue purchasing medical cannabis.
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