Marijuana gifting businesses could be shut down in DC

DC Council is set to take up emergency legislation on Tuesday that would end marijuana gifting businesses in the District in an effort to crack down on the growing and illicit marketplace.

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The legislation is looking to close a loophole in Initiative 71 which allowed for the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, and for adults to trade marijuana. 

Selling marijuana is still illegal in D.C., but allowing trading has created a marketplace of gifting operations where businesses will sell a product or service and gift the customer marijuana to get around the current law in the District.

The emergency legislation would also make it easier for people to go into a medical marijuana dispensary without a doctor's note from a licensed retailer.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the legislation is focused on public safety.

"I think that all of our businesses should be legal and follow the rules," she says. "Our path to legalizing and regulating marijuana is an important one, and it's an important one for public safety in the District."

READ MORE: New doc sheds light on the 'gifting' marijuana business in DC

Gifting operations are cash businesses and there have been some robberies and gun play at some of those businesses in recent months.

Council Chair Phil Mendelson spoke to FOX 5 saying another main concern is not knowing where the marijuana is coming from due to a lack of regulation.

"There is some concern about where it's coming from," he says. "My understanding is that some of it is cannabis grown in other states where it's legal and it's been rejected for not meeting quality standards."

Dispensary owners in D.C. say they work hard to operate safely.

"Our product is tested, inspected and regulated," says Linda Greene, owner of Anacostia Organics. "So, if we got a bad batch, for instance, if we got a bad batch from one of the cultivators, that we have to buy from by law, we can track the patient who bought that immediately and let them know."


If the emergency legislation is adopted would take effect immediately as soon as it is signed by the mayor.