Washington, D.C. Passes Bill To Expand Medical Weed Sales

Washington, D.C. Passes Bill To Expand Medical Weed Sales
High Times

Local lawmakers in Washington, D.C. last week passed legislation to expand medical marijuana sales, giving the city’s popular but unlicensed weed gifting shops a path to the regulated market. The bill, which was approved by the D.C. district council on December 20, comes after Congress included an existing prohibition on regulated adult-use cannabis sales in the nation’s capital as part of a spending bill approved last week. The bill significantly expands Washington, D.C.’s medical marijuana program, lifting a cap on dispensaries and increasing the number of authorized cultivation facilities. The legislation also creates licenses for new types of cannabis businesses, including marijuana delivery services, online sales, educational programs such as cooking classes, and cannabis consumption areas at dispensaries. Half of the new licenses will be reserved for social equity applicants, which are defined as D.C. residents who have a low income, have spent time in prison, or are related to someone who was incarcerated for a cannabis or drug-related offense. Bill Addresses D.C.’s Weed Gifting Shops The legislation is designed to address the vast unregulated market for cannabis in Washington, D.C., where medical marijuana was legalized by local lawmakers in 2010. In 2014, voters approved Initiative 71, a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Under the measure, adults can possess up to two ounces of marijuana, are permitted to grow cannabis at home, and may gift up to one ounce of weed to another adult. However, Congress, which has control over the Washington, D.C. budget, has refused to allow the city to spend money on regulating recreational marijuana sales. The situation has led to dozens of businesses that take advantage of the gifting provision of I-71 to distribute cannabis openly from storefront businesses. Under the common scheme, businesses sell benign merchandise such as apparel or art, offering what is ostensibly…

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