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washington D.C.

washington d.c. marijuana laws 

​Washington, D.C. residents approved Initiative 71 in 2014, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The city first approved the use of medical marijuana in 1998, but congressional pushback blocked the implementation, delaying the first purchase of medical marijuana until 2013.

 

As of March 2017, five cultivation centers and three dispensaries were awarded licenses to grow and sell marijuana which are currently operational. The Department of Health regulates the marijuana program and will announce if or when it is necessary to reopen the application process to add more facilities.


 

Key Dates

Mayor Muriel Bowser has proposed the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 – legislation allowing for the sale of recreational cannabis in Washington, DC. The bill enhances public health and safety, provides clarity on the use of cannabis and cannabis products, and advances equity to ensure that benefits of the new regime go to DC’s most vulnerable communities through jobs and investments in housing. There are no specific key dates related to Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 at this time.

 

Application Fees/Start up costs

Dispensary Initial Application fee was $8,000.00 in 2017.

  1. Available License Types

 

  • Medical Marijuana Cultivation License

  • Medical Marijuana Dispensary License

 

 The District of Columbia currently is not accepting applications.

 

  1. Qualifying Conditions

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome,

  • Cancer

  • Cirrhosis

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV or AIDS,

  • Lou Gehrig’s disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Seizure disorders

  • Other conditions, as determined by rulemaking, that are: 

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(i) chronic or long-lasting

(ii) debilitating or interferes with the basic functions of life

(iii) A serious medical condition for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial

(I) That cannot be effectively treated by any ordinary medical or surgical measure

(II) For which there is scientific evidence that the use of medical marijuana is likely to be significantly less addictive than the ordinary medical treatment for that condition. 

 

History 

In 1998, Initiative 59 was approved by voters, legalizing medical marijuana for qualified patients in Washington D.C. The medical marijuana program was delayed until 2009, and the first legal sale of medical marijuana didn’t take place until 2013.

 

On November 4, 2014, Washington DC legalized recreational marijuana with voters approving Initiative 71. Although the recreational use and possession of marijuana for individuals 21 years and older is legal in D.C., the law does not allow for the licensing of retail marijuana establishments or a system to regulate and tax marijuana products. Only medical marijuana establishments have been licensed to grow, manufacture, or sell marijuana products legally.

 

As of March 2017, five cultivation centers and three dispensaries were awarded licenses to grow and sell marijuana which are currently operational. The Department of Health regulates the marijuana program and will announce if or when it is necessary to reopen the application process to add more facilities.

 

Mayor Muriel Bowser has launched a campaign called Safe Cannabis DC to promote a petition for the Safe Cannabis Sales Act 2019. The Act builds on Initiative 71 by seeking legal sales of recreational marijuana across Washington, D.C. and to introduce an effective tax regime. It would require residents to be at least 21 years old to purchase cannabis, and they would be allowed up to an ounce per day of flower or 5g of concentrate, with limits also placed on edibles and liquids.

A 2014 study by District officials estimated that the city’s cannabis market could be worth up to $130 million a year, leading to a possible $20 million of revenue for local government. 

 

Because of the lack of legislation for adult-use sales, considerable losses have been reported. Such reports point to a 2018 figure: According to projections from a project co-produced by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier, if D.C. could allow the legal sale of marijuana by 2018, the recreational sales would reach $93.6 million in 2020. Because no taxation model has been established, it’s not clear how much revenue the city could collect from such a market.

 

Some estimates have Washington D.C. as the 7th largest market in the US.

 

According to the Marijuana Policy Project Washington D.C. 6,061 medical marijuana patients, accounting for 0.86% of the population.

Amount/types of licenses issued/available

Application Period Closed

Adult use/medical/CBD only/ALL/none

In Washington DC, all individuals ages 21 years and older may possess and use marijuana. 

 

Qualified patients may possess, use, and access medical marijuana. State-licensed organizations may grow, process, and dispense marijuana for medical purposes only.

 

CBD is available through the city's medical marijuana program, but the city also allows anyone over the age of 21 to possess and trade small amounts of marijuana. CBD is not specifically regulated by the city, and products are available in stores.

Estimated market size

According to projections from a project co-produced by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier, if D.C. could allow the legal sale of marijuana, the recreational sales could reach $93.6 million or more in 2021. 

how to start a marijuana business washington D.c.

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Washington D.C., please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

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