Sunday, September 25, 2022

DC Medical Marijuana Advocates Move To Lift Ban On Legal Sales Amid Confusing Congressional Ban

The bill will be effective as soon as Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has indicated her support for the bill, signs the legislation into law.

By Maureen Meehan

District of Columbia Council Chairman, Phil Mendelson, introduced a new emergency bill to reform the medical marijuana market in the nation’s capital where cannabis is fully legal. But due to a convoluted bicameral omnibus spending bill, marijuana sales are banned in the District.

The bill, scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, will allow for self-certification for adults 21+ to use medical cannabis and establishes a tax holiday for medical cannabis products during April.

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Photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

RELATED: Why Is President Biden Blocking Washington DC From Legal Cannabis Sales?

“As we wait for Congress to lift its ban on a regulated, legal recreational cannabis market in D.C., this bill provides us with the opportunity to make it easier for people in D.C. to access the medical cannabis they need,” said Mendelson.

The bill is widely supported by members of the DC Cannabis Trade Association, which works to increase access to cannabis while improving social equity and diversity for all DC residents and the many visitors to the nation’s capital.

“As the owner of a dispensary serving the historic Anacostia community, it is impossible for legal dispensaries to reach patients when competing with unregulated, untaxed illicit operators,” said Linda Greene, owner of Anacostia Organics and chair of the D.C. Cannabis Trade Association. “This bill helps instill better regulation for the industry as it continues to grow and evolve, ensuring that communities have input into the businesses that serve them.”

Additional bill supporters include Grace Hyde, COO, District Cannabis and Secretary, DCCTA; Dr. Chanda Macias, owner, National Holistic Healing Center and CEO, Ilera Holistic and Ismael Vince Canales, past president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police.

RELATED: Congress Upholds DC Weed Sales Ban, Protects State Medical Programs

“As one of the four Black-owned dispensaries in D.C., this emergency legislation will help us continue to serve these vulnerable patients with safe, tested products from licensed regulated operators,” said Dr. Macias, who is a guest speaker at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami April 20-21.

Canales added that regulating locations able to sell cannabis keeps the community safe in more ways than one. “As we continue to see an uptick in crime at illicit shops given the cash-only nature of their business and the increasing prevalence of unregistered firearms in the District, this bill will help ensure crime around these shops throughout our community does not continue to grow,” said Canales.

The bill will be effective as soon as DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has indicated her support for the bill, signs the legislation into law.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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