The D.C. Council will consider a bill Tuesday that would boost the city’s handful of medical marijuana dispensaries while aiming to close dozens of “gifting shops,” where customers are able to obtain marijuana without violating the city’s ban on the sale of recreational marijuana.
Recreational marijuana is legal in the District but it’s illegal to sell it. The gifting shops get around the ban by selling incidental items, then gifting the buyer the marijuana that the customer is really seeking.
The amendment would allow the sale of medical marijuana, which is taxed by the city, to anyone 21 years old and over without a doctor’s prescription.
It would also empower the city to close down gifting shops by holding landlords and property owners responsible for allowing them to operate on their premises.
Operators like Darel “Grindstone” Dawson, owner of Grindstone Universal — a boutique clothing store — and Peace in the Air — a gifting shop in Adams Morgan, say the legislation is meant to put gifting shops out of business.
“This act would result in financial struggle for many of the employees of these businesses and a huge percentage of whom are Black or people of color,” said Dawson.
“We would like to ideally exist in a world where our style of shop exists and the medical-style shop that exists now would both be able to be compliant,” he said.