DC medical cannabis industry could benefit from rule change

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Medical cannabis dispensaries and growers in the nation’s capital could be in for a major uptick in business if a proposed local rule change for the industry becomes law.

The Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment of 2015, which passed first reading in the Washington DC City Council on Tuesday, would allow dispensaries to serve registered MMJ patients from other states and also allow local registered patients to make purchases from more than a single dispensary.

The same bill also would remove the current plant count limit for medical cannabis cultivators, create an MMJ lab testing system, allow dispensaries to change locations within their council ward, and permit business ownership transfers and allow nurses to issue MMJ recommendations for patients, according to a press release from Americans for Safe Access.

“Not only will this amendment increase patient choice in the District, but the increased competition should result in lower prices for patients,” Mike Liszewski, ASA’s government affairs director, said in the release.

The amendment still has a long way to go, however. It must first pass a second reading vote by the council, be signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser – who supports a doubling in the amount of MMJ patients can purchase – and then get through a 30-day congressional waiting period.

The last stage may prove the biggest obstacle, given that their remains opposition toward the MMJ industry in Congress, particularly from conservative members of the Republican Party, which controls Congress.