DC Council Passes Self-Certification Medical Cannabis Bill

Medical cannabis access just got easier for people in Washington D.C.

On Tuesday, June 28, the DC Council voted unanimously to pass the Medical Marijuana Self-Certification Emergency Amendment Act of 2022 (the Act).

In most places where medical cannabis is legal, getting a doctor’s recommendation is the standard practice for obtaining access.

And while federal law prohibits physicians from prescribing medical cannabis, recommendations are protected under the First Amendment (freedom of speech).

Following the Act’s passage, individuals in D.C. over 21 may self-certify for medical cannabis, eliminating the need for a doctor’s recommendation.

According to the DC Cannabis Trade Association (DCCTA), the Act expands medical cannabis access by easing the logistical burden of becoming a patient.

DCCTA calls the recommendation process arbitrary and antiquated.

Under the Act, DCCTA says patients will save time and money.

According to DCCTA, patients can spend hundreds of dollars on recommendation appointments because health insurance does not cover them.

DCCTA says the Act’s passage makes Washington D.C. one of the country’s most accessible and affordable medical programs.

Under the Act, the medical cannabis card process only takes one day if the patient visits the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) office at 2000 14th Street, NW.

“By allowing residents 21+ to self-certify as medical cannabis patients, access to safe and legal medical cannabis will expand, and residents will hopefully be deterred from obtaining potentially harmful street cannabis from illegal sources,” says DCCTA Chair Linda Mercado Greene. “It is absolutely critical to have a safe, legal cannabis market so that those who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes are able to safely and reliably access their medicine.”

DCCTA says that studies show that most people use cannabis for health reasons, even adult-use consumers.

To help further ease the financial burden of obtaining medical cannabis access, DCCTA says ABRA is waiving registration fees until August 18, 2022.

In addition to serving residents, Washington D.C.’s medical cannabis program also offers reciprocity for registered patients from other states.

The Act, which received emergency consideration, takes effect immediately following a mayoral review.