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DC Council unanimously approves bill to legally buy medical marijuana without doctor's approval

The bill allows people 21 and up to legally purchase medical marijuana from certified dispensaries without approval from a practitioner.

WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above was published on June 9, 2022, and discusses a different bill surrounding marijuana.

The DC Council has unanimously approved a bill that will allow D.C. residents to purchase medical marijuana without needing a doctor’s approval.

The legislation, introduced by councilmembers Mary Cheh and Kenyan McDuffie, allows people 21 or older to self-proclaim that they are using marijuana for medical purposes. Members of the council argued that this is done to ensure better safety for people purchasing marijuana and dissuade them from getting marijuana from “gifting” shops, meaning shops that sell a product for a certain price, and then include marijuana as a "gift with purchase." The council members said the new bill will help regulate the industry. 

Chairman Phil Mendelson added that “gifting” shops do not contribute to the economy and said he would like to see harsher penalties for those shops.

In April, the council rejected a bill that Mendelson introduced that would provide harsher regulations for marijuana "gifting" shops in the District. If passed, the bill would fine unlicensed marijuana businesses and their landlords up to $30,000.

Before the passing of the bill, those who wanted to purchase medical marijuana had to submit an application to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which required them to provide a recommendation from an authorized practitioner that was issued within the last two years.

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