June 04, 2018, DC
Marijuana policy in the capital territory of the US is fairly conflicting. You can own a small amount of pot, you can grow it in your backyard and consume in private spaces. But you can’t buy or purchase it. More absurdity is displayed by the provision that allows you to give and accept minor amounts of marijuana as gifts. This ambiguous cannabis legislation has paved a way for underground cannabis operations in the form of pop-up markets where customers can buy any non-marijuana commodity and receive marijuana as a ‘gift’. By the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like that the cannabis rules of the DC will change anytime soon.
I-71: Legalization of Adult-use Cannabis in the Capital
Three years ago, the initiative 71 was passed that legalized recreational cannabis in the Washington DC with some odd conditions. According to the initiative, adults 21 and above can have up to two ounces of pot on them. They can domestically grow six plants and give away one ounce of the pot without taking any payment. Moreover, they can smoke it up in private spaces. Since buying and purchasing cannabis is not legal, therefore the DC cannabis laws are silent on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.
DC is Dependent on Federal Lawmakers for its Laws
It is important to note that I-71 was approved when Democrats were controlling the Federal administration. As per Home Rule Act, DC district council can’t put into practice any legislation without federal approval. This is the reason why experts think no changes should be expected in I-71 until Republicans are steering the Federal Helm.
A Pop-up Network is Thriving
The incomplete cannabis laws of the district haven’t deterred users to find a ‘legal way’ to get their stuff. The provision that allows people to give weed without receiving any money has facilitated a culture of pop-up cannabis stores. From snacks to books, they will sell any regular commodity but along with it, they gift their consumers weed.
One can say that cannabis businesses have cleverly evaded the technicality of the bill to keep on the pot operations. According to experts, every single day a new pop-up store goes operational in the Capital. But this proliferation has also resulted in federal crackdowns. To dodge law enforcement agencies, the majority of pop-up stores are now operating from private residences that can only do business with a number of trusted consumers.
This resilience of both ventures and consumers signify that the recreational laws of DC must be amended immediately to allow adult-use marijuana in its true form. Moreover, its high-time for decision-makers to think about the legislative autonomy of DC, its overdependence on the Congress is not bad just for cannabis legalizations. Nearly every district affair gets affected by the redundant federal involvement.
If the things remain as it is, then cannabis pop-up markets will continue to crop up in DC and the district will remain bereft of cannabis taxes that can be generated by legalizing the sale of weed.