Under emergency legislation passed Tuesday, district residents older than 21 will be permitted to register for patient cards to access medical marijuana without a doctor’s approval, giving them access to any of the seven dispensaries located in the district. The move follows similar legislation enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia earlier this year that permitted residents older than 65 to self-certify. The move is the city’s latest effort to support its dispensaries from the so-called “gray market.”
Use and possession of recreational marijuana are already legal in Washington, but selling and purchasing the drug is restricted by Congress, which has oversight over the district’s laws. As a result, several businesses throughout the district have operated through an unregulated “gifting” system — meaning shops offer marijuana to customers for free if they purchase something else.
This gifting system, often called the “gray market” by local lawmakers, has driven business away from city-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, which are subject to taxes, because the vendors can offer lower prices.
“Due to the…