This week’s cannabis updates are about Washington D.C. and Florida. One of these is good news and the others are bad news.
D.C.’s marijuana laws have been unusual since they legalized adult use of cannabis in 2014. Dispensaries are not allowed to sell marijuana but adults are allowed to have it on them. This has led businesses to sell other products and provide a bonus of ‘free’ cannabis with each sale. For example, you could purchase a t-shirt for $50 dollars and receive an eighth of cannabis ‘complimentary’ with the purchase.
This work around will hopefully come to an end soon. Mayor Muriel Bowser has introduced a bill to create a regulated marijuana market in the District. Called the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2021, it would bolster an equitable adult-use cannabis program, according to the Mayor. If this bill is approved and signed into law, adults 21 and older would be allowed to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries starting in October, 2022. The bill proposes a 17% percent tax on all sales of marijuana. It would also provide for automatic expungements of prior marijuana convictions and allow for delivery services.
Approving children for medical marijuana use can be very difficult. Few doctors are comfortable certifying a pediatric patient and allowing them to use cannabis at a young age. Now, Florida legislators are proposing to make it even harder for children to receive the medicine they need.
Currently, children in Florida must be certified by two doctors to receive a medical marijuana card. Now, the proposed law change would require that both doctors be pediatricians. This will make it excessively difficult for families with children to find doctors that are qualified to certify kids for cannabis use.
Another bill has been proposed to cap the percentage of THC (and THCa, presumably) in Florida medical marijuana. The bill is being sponsored by Republicans who all voted for passing it in a committee. If this bill makes it to the Florida House of Representatives and comes into law, it will mean that the quality of marijuana flowers will be suppressed significantly. Cannabis will only be allowed to have 10% or less THC by weight. Most strains today contain around 15% or higher THC by weight.
This will cause a number of problems for patients. First, it will mean they have to use more marijuana to adequately treat their conditions. The costs of the treatment will go up because they will have to buy more cannabis at dispensaries, which inflate costs to accommodate for state taxes and to make more profit. The bill will also push patients to the streets. Instead of buying cannabis from the dispensaries, where it is lab-tested and grown in controlled environments, they will buy product that is illegal and has a higher potential to be contaminated with byproducts.
If the bill passes, Florida cannabis will be some of the worst in the country.
Check out our latest post on our Cannabis Education page, entitled Using Cannabis For a Healthy Lifestyle to learn about how you can use cannabis to promote more physical activity, a healthier diet, and as a substitute for alcohol and tobacco.