New Bill Allows Adult DC Residents to Self Prescribe Cannabis - July 26, 2022

Good news for all marijuana fans. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser passes the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Act that allows U.S. residents of age 21 and above to self-prescribe marijuana for medical purposes. Earlier, marijuana users had to consult licensed medical marijuana doctors to get recommendations for medical use of cannabis. However, as per the emergency bill, a person can get a Medical Marijuana Card without getting a recommendation from an expert medical professional. The process of self certification can be completed at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration website or office.

The administration refrains users from paying fees for medical marijuana card registration starting Aug. 18, 2022. Which earlier was as much as $100 for every two years.

The decision has been unanimously made by all the D.C. official members and Mayor Muriel Bowser. The law which was passed in late June lets a person of at least 21 years of age to self-prescribe medical marijuana to treat health conditions. The patient self-certification provision mentioned in the act, also allows seniors aged 65 and older to self-certify cannabis for medical reasons without a doctor’s recommendation.

The law also provides a sigh of relief to medical marijuana dispensaries who were concerned about their lowering sales due to unregulated businesses gifting marijuana for buying clothes or other items.

medical marijuana in DC
After signing the Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, Mayor Muriel Bowser passed the statement, “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. I applaud the Council for moving forward this innovative solution to a complex issue, and I look forward to working with the Council and ABRA on permanent, more comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in the future.”

Formerly, it was important for adults to use and access marijuana in compliance with Initiative 71, which was passed in November 2014. However, the subsequent year, legislation passed a bill as per which D.C. was restricted to regulating marijuana for adult use in the retail industry. It was Harris Ride who prevented D.C. to impose a tax or regulate adult marijuana use in the commercial sector. Due to this, businesses started gifting memberships and merchandise in exchange for “free” marijuana, which was tax-free and unregulated.

The act also defines a method for elected district members’ inability to tax and regulate adult marijuana use in their respective jurisdictions. Although many actions were passed to invalidate Harris Rider, there was no success.

Also Read: How Will Virginia’s New Cannabis Law Impact MMJ Patients?

In April 2022, just like the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Amendment Act, a similar bill was being contemplated, however, it was rejected. One of the main causes of the rejection was enforcement provisions mentioned in Chairman Phil Mendelson’s (D) measure that would have regulated unlicensed businesses to “gift” cannabis to clients who purchase products and services other than marijuana. Such enforcement provisions are not included in the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Amendment Act.

However, an issue was found in the act. Any unregistered person in exchange for gifted marijuana can access non-cannabis products, without understanding the application and certification process to licensed dispensaries.

The legislation also noticed potential safety risks in that market. For instance, there are no quality control checks for products in the existing medical cannabis program.

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