420DC Weekly Round Up
Headlines from 3/2-3/9
Brought to you by The Outlaw Report
On Feb. 27, in the waning hours of a busy session, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation to legalize adult recreational cannabis use. After working to resolve differences between two complex bills from Democrats, the legislature accepted a compromise that will allow recreational pot possession when the commercial market launches in 2024. Some advocates have criticized this delay in legalization explaining that it will continue the War on Drugs’ disparate effects on Black and Brown communities for three more years.
“The proposed bill creates a pathway to the middle class for those who have been shut out from entering the cannabis market,” Bowser writes in the letter. “The Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2021 would create a social equity delivery license for marginalized groups; providing them with the exclusive right to deliver cannabis in the District for two years. The proposed bill also seeks to level the playing field by awarding preference points to returning citizens or District residents arrested or convicted of a cannabis offense or to cannabis certified business enterprises or veteran owned business enterprises applying for certain types of cannabis licenses.”
“This legislation is the culmination of over a year of work by my office and external stakeholders,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said in a press release. “It creates a comprehensive regulatory framework for the cultivation, production, and sale of recreational cannabis and most significantly, this bill centers reinvestment and opportunity for people and communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.”
Virginia Finally Allows Flower For Medical Cannabis Patients
The final 2021 version of Virginia’s recreational cannabis legalization was approved in both houses in late February and now heads to the desk of the largely pro-cannabis Governor, Ralph Northam. Meanwhile, to less fanfare, Virginia’s medical cannabis program is taking a major step forward by allowing the sale of unprocessed flowers or smokable buds. With bipartisan support, related legislation successfully progressed through the General Assembly and will also likely be signed into law by Northam. With a seemingly minor but central change in wording, “marijuana in the form of cannabis oil products,” the bill allows flower to enter the medical market. While the Commonwealth has significantly expanded the medical program in recent years, this move is hailed by the cannabis industry and advocacy groups as a “victory.”
‘Asa’s Medicine,’ A Book About Medical Cannabis For Kids
In Asa’s Medicine, the main character is a third grader named Asa who takes medical cannabis in school to manage symptoms of his medical condition. After another student calls Asa a “drug user” on the first day of school, he and the school nurse teach this student about the benefits of medical cannabis and how some kids require it like others require insulin or an inhaler. “As a mother and a nurse, I thought about all the questions kids would have…it’s important for kids and parents to understand just how similar medical cannabis is to other medicine,” Wynn-Grimes said.
After covering the top stories from the website this week, The Outlaw Report podcast host Scott Cecil is joined by Dan Grassroots Goldman to talk about the new legalization law in New Jersey, why it took so long, and what that might mean for DC, Maryland, and Virgina. Scott and Dan also predict what is next in each jurisdiction close to home here in the DMV.