DC City Council Votes to Lift Rule Limited Medical Cannabis Patients to One Dispensary, Authorizes DOH to License Lab Testing

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the DC Council had a First Reading vote on the Medical Marijuana Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016 (B21-210), which would address a number of issues currently hampering the District’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). The bill will create lab testing, allow reciprocity, and remove the cultivation center plant count limit for the MMP.

“The original DC medical cannabis law passed by the Council did not authorize the Department of Health to license independent testing laboratories to ensure product safety,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “This bill will allow patients to accurately know how much THC and other cannabinoids are in medical cannabis products and that they are free of contaminates; giving them greater confidence in the safety and reliability of their medicine.”

Additionally, the Council voted in favor an amendment that will lift the rule the only allows District patients to shop at one designated dispensary. The provision has long been cited by patients as one of their biggest frustrations with the program. Under the current law, if the patient’s designated dispensary runs out or does not stock a particular medical cannabis product, the patient could not shop at any of the other DC dispensaries to obtain the medicine that works best for them. By lifting the requirement, DC patients will have access to all of the medical cannabis products sold in the five licensed dispensaries in the District."

“Lifting the single dispensary designation requirement is a tremendous benefit for DC medical cannabis patients,” said Mike Liszewski, government affairs director at Americans for Safe Access. “Not only will this amendment increase patient choice in the District, but the increased competition should result in lower prices for patients.”

In addition to creating lab testing, reciprocity, and removal of the plant count limit, the bill will also allow District medical cannabis businesses to move their facilities within their Council Ward, enable ownership transfers, and grants nurses the right to issue medical cannabis recommendations. The nurse provision is subject to limitation by the Board of Nursing and Department of Health.

The Council will vote again on the Medical Marijuana Omnibus Amendment Act in a few weeks at Second Reading. If approved by the Council at Second Reading, the bill will go to the mayor’s desk for signature, then must pass a 30-day Congressional waiting period before it goes into effect.

More information: B21-0210 - Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment Act

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro |914-523-9145 | [email protected]