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Washington DC lets tourists self-certify for medical cannabis   

Published on October 20, 2022
Illustration of the White House with a balloon and a marijuana leaf
Getting legal weed in DC just got easier. But will it last? (jpgon/Adobe Stock)

Want to participate in Washington, DC’s medical cannabis program, but not a resident of the District? No problem, for now, thanks to a new law that allows out-of-state patients to self-certify.

This week, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) signed a bill, the “Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2022,” further amending DC’s medical marijuana program to allow tourists and non-residents to self-certify for temporary medical recommendations. A quick online application, valid ID, and a $30 fee get visitors a 30-day digital recommendation to patronize licensed medical marijuana establishments. This includes reciprocity for out-of-state patients. 

Washington DC just legalized weed for all adults—but it’s locals only

Adults and qualifying patients 21 and older from out of state can access an immediate medical recommendation application through the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration website. It echoes legislation Bowser passed in the summer that allowed DC residents 21 and up to self-certify, effectively removing bureaucratic barriers for adults to access medical cannabis in the nation’s capital.     

The emergency bill will sunset in 90 days, but a more long-term measure is currently under review, and Bowser has until Oct. 25 to pass it. The current bill also raises purchasing limits for patients to 8 ounces, allows for 2-year recommendations for patients and caregivers, and eases paperwork for patients to establish residency.      

This is the latest effort by local DC officials to cut down on the capital’s notorious cannabis gifting economy. The council rejected a bill to do so back in April. Gifting cannabis happens thanks to a legislative loophole passed in 2014, and most of these shops operate outside of DC medical marijuana regulations. But while councilmembers have admonished the practice, they’ve backpedaled on measures to investigate the shops and people that do it.

So they’ve opted for the next best thing: making medical cannabis as accessible as possible. With Biden’s recent promise to “look into” cannabis and its scheduled status, that could change. Considering he ran for president on the promise of doing so, it’s about time. In the meantime, a win is a win.

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Amelia Williams
Amelia Williams
New York-based freelance cannabis journalist Amelia Williams is a graduate of San Francisco State University's journalism program, and a former budtender. Williams has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle's GreenState, MG Magazine, Culture Magazine, and Cannabis Now, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bold Italic.
View Amelia Williams's articles
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