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D.C. Council allows adults over 21 easier access to medical marijuana

D.C. residents who are 21 and older will soon be able to self-certify their eligibility for medical marijuana under a proposal passed by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, which also approved measures allowing some minors to get certain vaccines without their parents’ consent and another bill to give residents at risk of foreclosure more time to access new funds.

The cannabis bill marks the latest attempt by lawmakers to support the city’s medical marijuana industry, which they say has lost business to more easily accessible marijuana “gifting” shops based in the District.

Unregulated gifting businesses, which give patrons cannabis so long as they purchase another item like a sticker or poster, grew in number after 2014, when recreational marijuana use and possession were legalized in the District, but not sales. Entrepreneurs say the gifting method offers a way around restrictions imposed by Congress that prevent D.C. from regulating its sale.

But D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and other lawmakers have criticized the District’s 40-plus marijuana gifting shops, arguing that these “gray market” businesses pull residents away from the city’s seven regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, which are subject to taxes. In April, the council narrowly struck down a bill that would have allowed D.C. to impose harsh civil fines on gifting shops while also allowing any adult resident to self-certify to obtain medical marijuana.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously passed an emergency bill that focused only on the self-certification aspect. [Read More @ The Washington Post]

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