DC Creates 4/20 Cannabis Tax Holiday, Expands Medical Weed Access for Seniors
All medical cannabis patients can now buy tax-free weed during the week of April 20, and senior citizens will be allowed to get medical cards without a doctor's recommendation.
Published on February 18, 2022

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The federal government may continue to prohibit cannabis in all forms, but the nation's capital just made 4/20 an official tax holiday.

Starting this spring, Washington DC will waive its 6 percent tax on medical marijuana sales during the week of 4/20. During this ten-day holiday, any registered patient will be able to shop tax-free at any of the city's seven licensed dispensaries. This year, the holiday will run from Friday, April 15th until Sunday the 24th. 

The 4/20 tax holiday was established by the Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, which was signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser late last week. As its title suggests, the new law also expands access to the district's medical marijuana program. 

From now until September 30, all new patient and caregiver registrations will be valid for two years, double the previous term. The new law also extends a temporary access expansion that was approved during the pandemic. This expansion waives the city's $100 registration fee until April 24, and will allow patients with recently-expired cards to legally buy medical pot until the end of September.

The city also now allows DC residents aged 65 and older to self-certify for the medical cannabis program via an online form. Before the new law, seniors could only register for the district's medical pot program if they received a recommendation from a physician. Adults under 65 will still need to get a doctor's recommendation to qualify for a medical marijuana card, though.

Seniors who need help signing up for the program are invited to attend a “Senior Week” set up by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), which regulates DC's medical cannabis program. From February 22 until February 25, the administration will offer assistance to seniors who want to enroll and issue same-day medical cannabis registrations. Patients can also register by mail or online.

“Senior Week will provide qualifying patients 65 years of age and older with the option to obtain a two-year registration card at no cost prior to the start of the medical cannabis sales tax holiday on April 15,” said ABRA Director Fred Moosally in a statement. “We appreciate the steps taken by the DC Council to ease the burdens for qualifying patients to access medical cannabis [as] a result of this emergency legislation.”

But even though DC's medical pot patients will be celebrating this 4/20 with some tax-free bud, it is still illegal for anyone who doesn't have a medical marijuana card to buy weed. Mayor Bowser and the City Council have proposed numerous bills that would establish a legal adult-use market in the capital, but Congress has blocked the city's ability to do so with federal budget amendments. Lawmakers are hoping to overturn these restrictions, but the Biden administration is still fighting to keep legal weed out of Washington.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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