DC Council to hear public testimonies on new cannabis legislature on November 19
On Friday, November 19, the DC Council will be holding a special hearing on their Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation legislation. The hearing is open to the public, allowing the DC community to testify on Zoom, providing comment on the proposed cannabis law.
As members of the DC cannabis community, we strongly encourage others to have their say about this law. Growers, small business owners, consumers (medical or recreational), and others are all affected directly by this law – which is why it’s essential that we take this opportunity to discuss how we’ll be impacted by it.
This will be the first hearing held by the DC Council of this nature in seven years. The last time a similar hearing on cannabis tax and regulation was held was October 30 2014. This was before Initiative 71 was voted on and before the Harris Rider was added to the federal budget for the District of Columbia.
If you’d like to testify on November 19, please click here to register. Usually, the DC Council takes testimonies in order of registration, which means that the sooner you register, the sooner you testify. The hearing will be held via Zoom, making it easier and more accessible to the majority of participants. All you need is an internet connection and a Zoom link to weigh in on this incredibly important piece of legislature.
DC’s current laws on cannabis
Medical cannabis is currently legal in DC. Thanks to Initiative 71, it’s also legal to gift cannabis in DC. This allows businesses like ours to gift free, high-quality cannabis to customers who purchase our legal services. Also, you may possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to three cannabis plants at a time.
While we’re grateful for the cannabis gifting laws, the current laws in DC are still restrictive. Many people still struggle to access cannabis, sometimes turning to less-than-legit sources and getting low-quality products. The laws also restrict small business owners who’d like to provide quality cannabis to customers.
Legislature alled Harris Rider, named for its author, Maryland Republican Representative Andy Harris, prohibits DC from legalizing and regulating recreational cannabis. Harris Rider makes it impossible for DC to determine its own laws around regulating the recreational use of cannabis.
This is where the new legislature comes in. The Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021 proposes a number of measurements that will directly affect people who use cannabis, their families, small business owners, and underserved communities across DC.
The register to testify on the 19th of November. can potentially move DC into a new, exciting era. However, in order to usher in more progressive and inclusive laws, it’s essential that DC’s cannabis community weighs in on this hearing on November 19.
About DC’s Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021
So, what exactly does the new legislation say?
You can read the Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021 (B24-0118) for yourself – but in case you want the Cliffs Notes version, here are the main highlights:
- The legislature doesn’t include Harris Rider, which is effectively a ban on legalizing and taxing the sale of recreational cannabis.
- The act will provide for the automatic review and expungement of convictions relating to cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia within 180 days, with the exception of convictions relating to selling cannabis to minors.
- The act proposes that DC sets aside at least half of all available licenses in each license category for social equity applicants.
- It proposes strong family law protections for parents and guardians.
- The act will eliminate denial of public assistance as a result of cannabis use. In other words, you’ll be able to get public assistance even if you test positive for cannabis use.
Possibly the most interesting part of the legislature is its proposals on funding. The act proposes directing 30% of cannabis revenue into a Social Equity Fund, which will provide loans, grants, and other support for social equity applicants.
Additionally, the act will direct at least 50% of cannabis revenue into a Community Reinvestment Program Fund, which will provide grants to community-based organizations that address issues like economic development, treatment for mental health and substance use disorder, homeless prevention services, youth development, and civil legal aid, and re-entry services.
This legislature can mark a step towards more sensible cannabis laws – laws that allow the DC community to benefit from cannabis access as well as tax revenue from cannabis sales. With this Act passed, the District will be able to regulate the sale of cannabis for itself.
If you have any thoughts, opinions, or ideas about the above-mentioned act, don’t forget to register to testify on the 19th of November.
Why this hearing is so important
This is a rare opportunity for the DC cannabis community to directly impact the laws that affect us. As mentioned, this hearing is the first of its kind for many years, and it might be the last for many more years. It’s important that we take the chance to talk to lawmakers when we can.
This legislature will affect our community, both in terms of curbing discriminatory policies against cannabis users and in terms of helping our community benefit from the revenue collected from cannabis sales.
The proposed laws will directly affect:
- Those convicted of cannabis-related charges and their families
- Both medical and recreational cannabis users and their families
- People who use cannabis and want to apply for public assistance programs
- Those who own, or want to own, cannabis-related businesses
- Small-scale and large-scale growers and sellers
- Parents and guardians who use cannabis
- Underserved communities, who can benefit from cannabis tax reinvestment
In other words, this legislature will have a massive impact on DC and on the national cannabis community as a whole – which is exactly why this hearing is a must for anyone concerned about cannabis laws. Once again, be sure to check out the Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021 and read it for yourself, and register to testify on the 19th of NovemberSHARE: