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US: D.C. Council votes to let medical cannabis patients self-certify without doctors

The Washington, D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation on Tuesday, June 28, that will effectively create a recreational cannabis market by allowing people to self-certify themselves as medical cannabis patients and access dispensaries—without needing to get a recommendation from a doctor.

The legislation from Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie (D) and Mary Cheh (D) cleared the full Council in a 13-0 vote.

It effectively enables the District to circumvent a congressional rider barring D.C. from using its local dollars to implement a system of adult-use cannabis sales. Voters approved the legalization of personal cannabis possession, cultivation, and gifting on the ballot in 2014, but there have been no licensed retailers for non-patients.

A similar bill that would have also provided the cannabis self-certification process was narrowly defeated in April. But the reason for its defeat was largely related to separate provision’s in Chairman Phil Mendelson’s (D) measure that would have cracked down on unlicensed businesses that are using existing policy to “gift” cannabis to people who purchase unrelated products and services.

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