Biden Budget Blocks D.C. Cannabis Marketplace Implementation

Biden Budget Blocks D.C. Cannabis Marketplace Implementation

The Biden Administration’s budget proposal, continues to include a rider preventing Washington D.C. from utilizing funds to establish its voter-approved adult-use cannabis marketplace. This measure, initially introduced by U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) in 2014, has persisted despite D.C. voters’ overwhelming support for Initiative 71, which legalized cannabis possession and cultivation for adults.

Despite efforts by Democratic lawmakers to remove the rider, bipartisan discussions have resulted in its retention, thwarting D.C.’s attempts to regulate and license an adult-use cannabis industry. Meanwhile, the city’s unregulated cannabis market has flourished in the absence of a legal framework.

D.C. officials have expressed their readiness to enact a regulated cannabis marketplace if the rider is lifted. However, in the interim, they have made adjustments to local medical cannabis regulations, allowing any D.C. resident aged 21 and above to self-certify for the program and immediately access licensed retailers.

Currently, adults in Washington D.C. are permitted to possess up to two ounces of cannabis flower and cultivate up to six cannabis plants in their private residences.

Efforts to expand access to regulated cannabis products come amidst widespread support for legalization, with a recent Gallup poll revealing that 70% of Americans favor the legalization of cannabis.

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