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Washington D.C. Mayor Signs Bill Declaring 4/20 Tax Holiday On Medical Marijuana Purchases



Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has signed legislation to suspend the jurisdiction’s 6 percent tax on medical marijuana around the 4/20 cannabis celebration, declaring a two-week tax holiday on purchases from April 15 through April 28.

Bowser returned the 4/20 medical cannabis tax holiday legislation to lawmakers on Tuesday after signing it a day earlier. Supporters say the tax holiday would encourage patients and caretakers to shop at legal, licensed dispensaries rather than obtain marijuana through the illicit market.

The District Council unanimously approved the proposal earlier this month.

“The popular tax holiday is critical to the District’s effort to attract qualifying patients back to the legal market,” Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (I), who introduced the measure on behalf of Bowser’s office, said at the time.

Members of the panel said roughly 200 unlicensed dispensaries currently exist in the District, and about 70 of those have applied to transition into the regulated market.

A letter submitted by the mayor said the tax holiday bill also supports the District’s medical marijuana industry.

prior medical cannabis tax holiday was included in a 2022 bill designed to help address rising cannabis costs at licensed dispensaries and combat “the continuing threat posed by illicit cannabis storefronts and delivery services,” according to a companion resolution.

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In separate actions last week, the council also defeated a proposal that would have adjusted rules around locating medical marijuana dispensaries near schools. Members also considered a measure to extend the District’s cannabis enforcement authority while Congress reviews a regulation bill adopts by the council earlier this year.

Retailers must already be 300 feet from schools or recreation centers, but a recent policy exempts certain medical cannabis retailers from that requirement if they’re located in a commercial or industrial zone.

Some members of the D.C. Council have suggested that marijuana more broadly should be legal in the District, but that policy change has been repeatedly blocked by a congressional rider preventing D.C. leaders from regulating an adult-use cannabis market.

Last month, federal lawmakers again approved funding legislation extending the rider to prevent broader legalization in the District.

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Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


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