Medical cannabis program allows home delivery during COVID-19 crisis
Last update: April 23, 2020
On April 14, Mayor Bowser and the Department of Health announced emergency rulemaking to permit D.C.’s seven licensed dispensaries to provide medical cannabis delivery and curbside pickup to registered D.C. patients and caregivers.
The measures — which include regulations governing delivery and curbside pickup — went into effect immediately and will expire either August 12 or 45 days after D.C.’s public health emergency order is lifted, whichever is later.
These actions are critically important to ensure patients can access their medicine while promoting social distancing. You can find a list of licensed dispensaries in D.C. here.
Congress continues to block D.C from taxing and regulating marijuana sales
In November 2014, D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and older. However, due to the fact that D.C. cannot control its own budget, Congress has been able to block the District from taxing and regulating marijuana sales via the "Harris rider."
In 2019, the House of Representatives removed the “Harris rider" from its annual spending legislation, but the rider was unfortunately included in the Senate version and remained there after both chambers hashed out a compromise bill. The congressional block will continue through at least September 2020.
Council committee holds hearing on employment protection bills
On September 25, 2019, the D.C. Council Committee on Workforce and Development held a hearing on two bills that would protect D.C. residents and medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. The “Prohibition of Marijuana Testing Act of 2019” seeks to prohibit marijuana testing as a condition of employment with some exceptions — for both adult-use consumers and medical patients. The Medical Marijuana Program Patient Employment Protection Act of 2019 seeks to prohibit the D.C. government from discriminating against patients participating in the medical cannabis program. The bills — which MPP’s Olivia Naugle testified in favor of — are awaiting further action in committee.
MPP Legislative Analyst Olivia Naugle testifying at the D.C. Committee on Labor & Workforce Development public hearing in September 2019.
D.C. now accepts medical cannabis cards from any state
In August 2019, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that non-District residents with a medical marijuana card from any state may obtain their medicine from a D.C. dispensary while they are visiting the District.
The Department of Health had already authorized certified patients from some states to access D.C’s medical cannabis dispensaries with the approval of B21-0210 back in 2016. The mayor’s new rulemaking expands the number of states whose medical cards the District recognizes from 19 to at least 27.
New states added by the action are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont. Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are under review. Cards from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington State were already recognized.
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