The nation’s capital could soon see changes to its cannabis activity

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DC is still under the thumb of Congress, but is ready to make cannabis reforms on its own

Even though Washington, DC, is one of the jurisdictions where marijuana laws were implemented first, there are still some issues that are considered gray areas. However, a few modifications to the legal activity could go a long way toward clarifying many things. A new bill would eliminate the limit on the number of medical dispensaries and growers allowed in the nation’s capital.

Just a few years after DC voters overwhelmingly supported recreational cannabis, Diana Alvarez thought it would be a good idea to sell marijuana brownies in order to receive donations to fund her son’s tuition. Dubbed “Ant’s College Fund,” these brownies were launched in the city’s growing “gift” market, a network of stores in DC that, through a loophole in the law, are able to give away small amounts of marijuana with the purchase of an item.

DC is overseen by Congress and a budget rider was introduced here that prevented the city from marketing the drug. As a result, dozens of gift stores have functioned as the de facto recreational market in the District. That model may now be revisited thanks to legislation passed by the DC Council last week.

The idea is that gift stores could have the opportunity to apply for medical marijuana licenses, an avenue to expand the regulated market. The measure has yet to be reviewed by Congress and receive the mayor’s signature. However, should it be enacted, it has enough to transform the DC cannabis market for both consumers and businesses.

“It’s going to allow the District to be a lot healthier on the cannabis side,” said Terrence White, chairman of the i-71 Committee and a gifting shop owner. “It’s going to allow us to be doing it ‘right,’ as I call it.”

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