Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Wednesday signed the bill allowing patients to self-certify that they use cannabis for medical purposes and eliminating the requirement of a physician recommendation. The measure was unanimously approved by the city council at the end of June.
“We have made it a priority over the years to build a more patient-centric medical marijuana program and this legislation builds on those efforts. We know that by bringing more medical marijuana patients into the legal marketplace in a timely manner and doing more to level the playing field for licensed medical marijuana providers, we can protect residents, support local businesses, and provide clarity to the community.” — Bowser in a press release
In April, the council rejected a similar proposal by Chairman Phil Mendelson because it contained provisions to crack down on cannabis “gifting” businesses. The self-certification bill is, in part, meant to drive patients away from gifting businesses and into legal dispensaries. In a letter, Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Kenyan McDuffie said the measure would put medical dispensaries “on a more even footing” with gifting businesses when it comes to patient access and could lead to “better health outcomes” for patients because unregulated cannabis products provide “no assurance that the marijuana has been tested or adequately labeled.” However, according to The Outlaw Report, there are no official testing laboratories in Washington D.C.
In the statement, Bowser said she is looking forward to working with local lawmakers to enact “permanent, more comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in the future.”
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