DC lawmakers approve new medical marijuana bill

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Relaxed cannabis rules will help the district become more independent

Washington, DC’s medical marijuana program may be reformed thanks to a bill recently introduced by District lawmakers. Among some of the measure’s highlights are granting tax breaks to operators, eliminating commercial marijuana license caps, further boosting social equity, and creating new regulated business categories such as cannabis cooking classes and on-site consumption facilities.

The legislation received the green light from the District Council’s Business and Economic Development Committee two days ago. The proposal also seeks to establish that adults have the authority to self-certify as medical cannabis patients. The move comes about a month after an earlier version cleared a different panel.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has been chosen to replace the decision that should be made by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Its recently approved major components have remained intact. However, it should be noted that different issues, such as the tax code and license enforcement, received additional review during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

Having passed the necessary filters thus far, the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act has now been directed to the Committee of the Whole. Should it continue on the same successful path, final approval by the District council would be required.

“The public and voters have decided that they want to see a different framework in the District of Columbia,” the committee chairman, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D), said on Tuesday. “We’ve done that over the years. This is just one additional step where we’re trying to fulfill those commitments to both the initiatives and laws that we pass in the District of Columbia around medical cannabis.”

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