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Washington, D.C. Lawmaker Wants to Remove All Barriers to Medical Marijuana Access

With recreational cannabis legal in the District but no retail sales allowed, the Medical Marijuana Improvement Act would create a self-certification system to spread access to every D.C. adult.

by Zach Harris

Recreational cannabis use is legal in Washington, D.C., but thanks to the District’s lack of statehood and some pesky legislation handed down from Congress, the East Coast hub hasn’t been able to set up a system for adult use retail marijuana. The awkward set of regulations has created a cannabis industry based on overpriced consumer products that come with a gift of legal weed. To try and solve those grey market inconsistencies, one D.C. lawmaker is trying to turn the city’s medical marijuana system into the most accessible program in the world.

According to Forbes, D.C. Councilman David Grosso has introduced the Medical Marijuana Improvement Act of 2017, District residents 21 and older would no longer need a doctor’s recommendation to access the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries, with a self-certification program allowing every adult equal opportunity to purchase and consume legal weed.

If the act passes, D.C. medical patients would simply need to sign a sworn affidavit confirming that they are using cannabis for “exclusively medical purposes,” that they are 21 years or older, and that they are aware of local and federal cannabis laws.

With an entirely open-ended medical program and recreational possession laws, Washington D.C. would finally be able to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Alaska as a haven for widespread adult cannabis access.

“Medical marijuana has been shown to be a viable alternative to the prescription of opioid painkillers, which can set people down the path to addiction,” Grosso said in a press release. “While we have made significant improvements to our medical marijuana program here in D.C., there is more we can do to improve access for patients and reduce opioid reliance and overdose.”

In addition to greatly expanding access, Grosso’s bill would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open social use sections to allow those without a legal place to consume their weed to medicate in piece. 

Grosso already has three initial co-sponsors supporting the bill.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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