Policy Recommendations District Of Columbia

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for the District of Columbia

Reciprocity for patients from all states began in 2019 and has significantly increased medical retail traffic given the District's consistent appeal to tourists. The District's city council has been proactive in protecting workplace rights for patients, passing an emergency measure each year since 2018 to protect employees from being discriminated against for medical cannabis use. Councilmembers had organized a set of much-needed reforms for the District's medical cannabis program for consideration in 2020, however that work was derailed by the need to focus on COVID-19 emergency measures.12 Measures abandoned on the table include legislation authorizing same-day patient access to expedite patient's ability to secure medicine while the District's program application was pending, a bill to address subsidized housing issues for patients by permitting onsite consumption at licensed medical retail establishments, and legislation protecting government employees from discrimiation based on their status as a patient. ASA recommends that these bills receive consideration by the council in 2021.

In 2020, District council members organized several COVID emergency features related to cannabis that ASA encourages maintaining. These included declaration of cannabis businesses as essential, enabling curbside pickup and delivery, and allowing for telehealth for renewals.

ASA also recommends that the District organize comprehensive laboratory testing requirements to improve medical cannabis product safety and effectiveness, integrate lab testing requirements that analyze and report on the specific level of key cannabis plant compounds (e.g. CBD, CBG and THC) and terpenes, and develop product labeling requirements that share this important information with patients and physicians.