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November 20, 2023
The District Cannabis store will look like a typical medical dispensary — with branded merchandise, displays of smokable cannabis plants, edibles, CBD products and concentrates. But in practice, it will act almost like a recreational shop: Customers will be able to self-certify for a medical license on the spot, without needing a doctor’s note for a medical condition.
Scheduled to open in March, District Cannabis is one of the first facilities to come out of a new law enacted this year that seeks to bring the city’s cannabis market out of the shadows and has already sparked a surge of activity.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of growth, and it’s just going to really benefit the city overall,” said Hyde, District Cannabis’ chief operating officer. “I think it’s only good things to come. Obviously, there’s going to be some growing pains.”
The new D.C. law, the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022, went into effect in March to little fanfare. But those working in the sector say it has changed essentially everything about the city’s cannabis business, from how it is grown and processed to how it is sold, delivered and consumed.
The law allows patients 21 and older to self-certify for their own medical licenses, which are available to customers on the spot in-store. It also removes a cap on the number of establishments that can produce and sell cannabis, expands retail uses and allows delivery.
That is leading to a rush of cultivators, manufacturers and retailers applying for licenses, looking to take advantage of a market that just blew wide open.
“This is a really big, bold move, and government agencies are not typically known for big, bold moves,” Hyde said.