DC Council approves measure allowing residents to 'self-prescribe' medical marijuana

Council members in D.C. have approved a measure to let anyone 21 years and older "self-prescribe" medical marijuana.

Supporters say D.C.'s legal medical marijuana industry is losing a massive amount of business and money to illegal pop-up marijuana "gift shops," which exploit loopholes in the law. 

Currently, in the District, you need a doctor's certification before you can purchase medical marijuana. 

But, illegal weed "gift shops" require no certification. 

To cut into the illegal weed market, D.C. wants to allow anyone 21 years and older to get medical marijuana from a dispensary without a doctor's order. 

RELATED: DC launches medical marijuana tax holiday

The legislation was sparked over concerns people are leaving D.C.'s legal medical marijuana dispensaries to buy weed from illegal pop-up shops. 

That "gray" market is estimated to pull in a staggering $600 million in sales annually. D.C. officials say the number of patients legally buying marijuana from legal medical dispensaries has declined since December. 

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

"If the legal businesses go out of business and some of them are struggling right now, then if the day comes where we are able to regulate tax and regulate recreational marijuana there will not be businesses that can step in," said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.  

FOX 5 has learned Mayor Muriel Bowser's desk plans to sign the bill into law. 

In a memo to the council president today, Mayor Bowser wrote she "wholeheartedly supports this action" and believes that letting people 21 and older self-certify will bring more medical marijuana patients into the legal marketplace.