The D.C. Council held its first-ever public hearing with residents last November 19, 2021, Friday, to talk about legalizing cannabis sales in the area. Approximately 100 people and speakers were in attendance and the meeting took almost nine hours to finish, reports WUSA 9.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and councilmembers Charles Allen and Kenyan McDuffie attended the virtual meeting.

The DCist said that D.C. lawmakers heard the thoughts and suggestions of almost a hundred people that day regarding the legalization of marijuana and the two bills concerning it. In particular, the people spoke about how the tax revenue should be spent and allocated, how the program could possibly affect the city’s medical marijuana initiative, as well as how they could also contribute to advancing the overall movement.

Council and Residents Talk About Legalizing Cannabis Sales

According to WUSA 9, the two marijuana-related bills tackled in the virtual meeting concern the elimination of a requirement that forces MMJ patients to register within a particular district. Alongside the removal of the said requirement, lawmakers are also seeking to use treatment facilities as well as allow curbside pickup and delivery services to work with getting patients what they need.

The other bill in question, on the other hand, seeks to finally legalize and regulate the sale of adult-use recreational cannabis in D.C., notes WUSA 9. Mendelson is responsible for introducing the bill earlier this year, reveals the DCist.

The bill in question seeks to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana at dispensaries. At the same time, the bill also intends to expunge criminal offenses and convictions related to marijuana. In relation to this, Mendelson seeks to establish a Cannabis Equity and Opportunity Fund to help those affected by the drug war to enter the cannabis business, notes the DCist.

In a statement, Councilmember Allen said, “At the heart of today’s discussion is also understanding the difference between opportunity and inclusion and in what ways our legislation needs to be intentional in order to achieve that.”

“At least half of all cannabis business licenses would be set aside for Social Equity Applicants, defined as residents who have been previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses,” continued Allen.

Most of the speakers who shared their thoughts at the virtual meeting touched on social and economic equity when D.C. does tax marijuana sales in the future. Apart from those, other speakers also sought to make the requirements of entering the commercial cannabis market in D.C. easier, said WUSA 9.

Marijuana Legalization Bill

Other speakers, such as the D.C. Marijuana Justice group sought to amend an aspect of the legalization bill. Under the amendment, the group behind the success of Initiative 71 aims to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell marijuana at farmers markets, reports the Marijuana Moment.

The amendment would be found to operate under a Cottage Industry License, said Marijuana Moment, that would “authorize the licensee to grow and produce medicinal and/or recreational marijuana within their residence for sale and deliver at wholesale directly to manufactures, testing facilities, retailers and farmers markets.”

While D.C. lawmakers are open to hearing the concerns and thoughts of residents, the legalization of cannabis is still unclear. Chairman Mendelson said that “the challenge is that we would like to legalize it. Congress has prohibited it. We can only have a hearing on this bill and be ready when Congress lifts the prohibition.”

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