Chair of D.C. Council and Mayor Bowser each introduce legislation to regulate and tax cannabis
Last update: March 3, 2021
On March 1, the Chair of the D.C. City Council, Phil Mendelson, introduced a cannabis regulation bill, “The Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021.” Shortly before that, Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced her own proposal that would regulate and tax cannabis sales in the District.
While the proposals are similar, there are key differences in the licensing, tax rates, and where tax revenue is allocated.
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, but 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."
However, Democrats have taken control of both chambers of Congress, meaning there is a new opportunity for the “Harris rider” to finally be removed, allowing D.C. to implement legal cannabis sales.
Medical cannabis program now regulated by Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration
On October 1, 2020, the District’s medical cannabis program was transferred from D.C. Health to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
More information on D.C’s medical cannabis program can be found here, and you can find a list of licensed dispensaries in D.C. here.
ABRA has taken steps to further expand access to medical cannabis patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Most notably, patients will continue to have access to delivery and curbside pick-up, and delivery times have been extended to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (delivery times were previously limited from 11a.m. to 7 p.m.).
D.C now accepts medical cannabis cards from any state
In October 2020, ABRA announced the extension of reciprocity to medical cannabis patients and caregivers from Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Utah, and Oklahoma. The additions increase the number of states whose medical cards or state-issued documents the District recognizes from 27 to 32.
States that were already recognized include: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington State.
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