Seniors to have better access to medical marijuana in DC

Photo courtesy of U.S Fish and Wildlife Service

As the use of medical marijuana continues to grow nationally among people 65 years and older, largely because of the decriminalization of cannabis throughout the U.S., Washington, D.C,  is expanding access to district marijuana services for seniors. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed into law the Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2022. Such establishes a sales tax holiday for medical marijuana products purchased from D.C.’s licensed dispensaries and allows seniors to receive registrations valid for two years rather than the one year available to others. 

Residents who are 65 years and older can self-certify that they will use cannabis for medical purposes instead of requiring a recommendation and renewals from their health care practitioners. 

“We appreciate the steps taken by the D.C. Council to ease the burdens for qualifying patients to access medical cannabis as a result of this emergency legislation,” Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Director Fred Moosally said in a statement.

ABRA regulates these types of licenses in D.C. and will host a “Senior Week” starting February 22  to assist participating seniors in the self-certification process. 

This will accompany a ‘4/20 Medical Cannabis Sales Tax Holiday Week’ that will exempt marijuana products purchased at any of D.C.’s seven licensed dispensaries from the 6% sales tax. It lasts from April 15-24.

The sales tax holiday is meant to incentivize dispensaries instead of the black market. This is primarily done to combat “the continuing threat posed by illicit cannabis storefronts and delivery services,” the resolution says. 

A medical cannabis card typically costs about $100 annually in D.C.

Fabio Lopez is an undergraduate student at Florida International University. He transferred from Miami-Dade College with an Associates Degree in Mass Communication. Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Broadcasting. Lopez is an Assistant Director for the student-led newspaper PantherNOW Sports. He is also a communications intern for Inter Miami and a member of the FIU Honors College.