You can purchase marijuana from a pot shop just a few doors away. ReasonThe D.C. Office is quite straightforward. The process is simple: you walk in and order from a menu. You then receive your marijuana from one of the attendants. Other brick-and motor dispensaries are available in the area. One can purchase a t-shirt or lighter for $45, and then receive a “gift” with marijuana.
This is a peculiar quirk in D.C.’s federal status that legalized marijuana.
A ballot initiative to legalize adult marijuana possession and cultivation was supported by 70% of voters in the city. Ever since, the U.S. Congress—which has ultimate authority over the district’s laws—has included riders in its budget bills preventing the D.C. government from spending any money taxing or regulating cannabis sales.
It is strangely the most open market in the country for marijuana because there are no heavy regulations on cannabis and tax levied by every state that has legalized it.
On Tuesday night the D.C. City Council passed an emergency measure that Phil Mendelson (City Chairman) proposed. The emergency measure would have granted the mayor of D.C. and the city liquor officials power to close gift shops and hit them up with civil penalties of up to $25,000 and a maximum of $30,000.
A landlord who rents to a gift shop could be penalized $30,000 in the first instance and $60,000 in the second.
Mendelson’s bill on the contrary would have loosening regulations for city residents who wish to purchase from its seven medical marijuana dispensaries licensed and regulated. These shops would not require a prescription. This would allow for a maximum purchase of 4-8 ounces at dispensaries.
Mendelson supported by other members of council argued for the protection of a licensed medical cannabis industry from free-wheeling gray market competitors.
“As the legal market for medical marijuana continues to feel the impacts posed illicit cannabis storesfronts and delivery service, it is imperative to take additional steps in order to offer relief to patients and legal businesses.” readsMendelson tweets
Proposed emergency resolution points out that D.C.’s gifting shops are often located close to schools. Most are not owned by D.C. residents and must pay fees to submit products for the same testing as medical marijuana businesses.
District cannabis activists for many years have claimed that this is only rank protectionionism, which goes against D.C.’s will.
Adam Eidinger is one of the leading campaigners behind the I-71 2014 legalization initiative. The bill’s only purpose is to provide a benefit for a few lucky license holders. “We should all live in an environment of free competition.”
The Mendelson bill was also vigorously opposed by targeted gift shops. The Washington Post According to reports, they circulated the news among their customers and gave free joints to those who called Councilmembers asking them to reject the initiative.
Mandelson’s bill, which “would remove the very limited protections I-71 provides to compliant, smaller businesses and would cause financial difficulty for the many employees these businesses, a large percentage of whom are Black/people of color,” stated the I-71 Committee. It is the new cannabis trade organization for D.C. gifting stores.
Mendelson’s bill, which was an emergency measure in the city, required nine out of thirteen council members to support it. The report says. Post. It was defeated in an 8-to-5 vote.
Eidinger attributes the success of the bill to the efforts of customers and businesses. He said that district residents were happy with the current situation of the industry.
He said that no one was clamoring to have this. “People love the freedom to go out and pick up books, and a bag with them.”