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Washington DC Bill Introduced to Lift Cannabis Conviction Restrictions

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The city council of Washington, DC introduced a bill that would allow anyone with a felony conviction or misdemeanor cannabis defense to once again become an employee or member of a medical cannabis dispensary.

Five councilmembers introduced B23-0974, which would repeal specific text found in the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999. Currently, the text states that those with a felony or cannabis offense cannot become an “employee, director, agent or member of a medical dispensary or cultivation center,” according to the DCist. The bill would also create a new incentive program for residents who apply to become cannabis business owners.

One of the five councilmembers, Robert White, expressed his pride in pushing this bill forward. “This week I’m introducing a bill to repeal the prohibition on returning citizens working in the #Cannabis Industry. There is no reason why those who’ve paid their debt to society should be locked out of this industry any longer,” he stated on Twitter.

DC Marijuana Justice activist Adam Eidinger believes that it is far past time to give back some rights to citizens. “People who have served their time should be able to work in this industry, regardless of whether they’ve had a past drug conviction, or really, any other conviction,” he stated. Eidinger is also one of the individuals who helped introduce Initiative 71, which became law on February 26, 2015.

It is legal to possess up to two ounces of cannabis, or gift up to one ounce of recreational cannabis to others, in Washington DC, however recreational cannabis sales are still illegal. There are currently only a handful of medical cannabis dispensaries within city limits, which requires a medical card to access. According to Eidinger, the next step is to open things up to more residents. “I want a low barrier for entry into the business side of it,” he added. “That will help the people that Robert White is trying to help.”

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