Green savings: DC medical cannabis sales tax holiday underway

D.C. is temporarily ditching its 6% sales tax on medical cannabis products sold at licensed dispensaries.

The sales tax holiday, which does not cover paraphernalia, began Friday and runs through April 24. It’s aimed in part at drumming up registrations for the District’s medical marijuana program, which is facing increased competition from the so-called “gray market” of unlicensed weed shops.

You need to be enrolled in D.C.’s medical marijuana program to buy cannabis products at any of the District’s seven licensed dispensaries, which are overseen by D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

The quickest way to enroll or renew your application is walk-in registration inside ABRA’s office at the Reeves Center — 2000 14th St., Suite 102A on the first floor — between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can expedite your application by filling it out online ahead of time or by bring a completed physical copy with documents.

Applicants under 65 must have a doctor’s recommendation. But those over 65 can self-certify that they will use cannabis purchased at D.C. dispensaries for medical purposes and don’t need a doctor’s note.

In addition, patient and caregiver registrations issued through Sept. 30 will be good for two years, which is double the usual term. Registration fees are also waived through April 24.

Questions about registering for the program as well as the sales tax holiday can be emailed to

In February, the D.C. Council unanimously approved the cannabis sales tax holiday and other incentives.

Earlier this month, emergency legislation that would have allowed anyone 21 and older to self-certify into the medical marijuana program while also cracking down on unlicensed “gifting shops” failed to get enough votes to pass. The vote was 8-5 in favor of the bill, introduced by Council Chair Phil Mendelson, but it didn’t get the necessary nine votes to pass as an emergency bill.

Recreational use and possession of marijuana has been legal in the District since 2015, after voters approved Initiative 71. But there is no mechanism for sales of recreational marijuana, because it requires an act of Congress.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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