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‘We’ll have to close the doors’: D.C. cannabis gifting services say new legislation will scrap recreational sales

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The capital’s cannabis “gifting” services are a symptom of the city’s second-tier status in the US — its residents voted in 2014 to legalize marijuana, but Congress Ban continues In the province’s legal recreational sales, it has essentially created a gray market where recreational users must purchase items and receive a “gift” of a cannabis product. The capital city council is preparing Tuesday to consider emergency legislation (a legislative tactic unusual in the region that circumvents congressional review) that would boost the fortunes of medical marijuana companies and funnel gift services.

The bill, proposed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelsohn, aims to allay complaints from clinics that “I-71” companies – their name derives from Initiative 71, a 2014 ballot measure legalizing cannabis – do not face the same regulatory regime as they do and as a result have an advantage. unfair. DC can shut down unregistered marijuana businesses for 96 hours and fine them and their landlords. At the same time, anyone who wants a medical cannabis card will be able to “self-certify” their need and buy it at medical dispensaries.

Anaïs Hayes is COO and co-founder of District Derp, an I-71 company with a ten-person team working full or part time. She says moving all trade to dispensaries will likely drive up prices. Just Seven medical clinics They are currently licensed to operate in the area, and while the legislation aims to increase this number, the current market will be immediately disrupted. “No matter what happens, you look at at least two months” before the new dispensaries start operating, she says. “I don’t see how supply meets demand in light of this.” Christopher Licata, District Derp CEO and other co-founder says, “WWhen this legislation becomes effective, we will have to close the doors of the District Derp.”

The I-71 Committee is a trade group representing about six gift companies. All of its members are working to facilitate access to medical marijuana and would also welcome regulation, says Grace Ridder, CEO, but this legislation would “have a terrible impact” on I-71 business, which notes that many are run by black businessmen or Brown. ““It really is moving our city backwards in terms of hurting the old operators,” Reeder says. She says it remains unclear how the provisions of the law will be applied:I don’t know they thought about this whole process.”

Several councilors have expressed reservations about expediting this legislation in a Tuesday breakfast meeting. If there was enough objection, it might give I-71 companies some breathing room—many encouraged their clients to contact their council members to express their disapproval. This is Mendelssohn’s second attempt to pass such legislation, though, suggesting that even if I-71 companies avoided a moving train today, another project will soon take place. “We’d really like more time to work with the council,” Rieder says.

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