Regulators in the capital announced last week that they would start inspecting unlicensed cannabis businesses to ensure compliance with various laws.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration said it was “a ‘Joint Cannabis Task Force’ made up of various organizations. [Washington, D.C.] “Government Agencies” will begin visiting companies next month after a 30-day grace period.
DC voters passed an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014, but the sale of weed is still technically illegal due to a congressional ban.
Companies there have found loopholes in their “gift” practices. Customers pay for items like T-shirts and “gift” cannabis in return.
The practice has upset many of Washington, D.C.’s medical cannabis dealers, who say the illegal stores are cutting into their business.
In April, the DC City Council rejected a proposal backed by the medical marijuana industry. The proposal would impose harsher fines on businesses engaged in gift-giving.
The inspections announced by the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control will be conducted to ensure that unlicensed cannabis businesses comply with the regulatory requirements of “DC Health, the Consumer Regulatory Agency (DCRA), the District of Columbia Fire Department and Emergency Medicine.” Service Department (FEMS), and Tax Office (OTR)”.
The administration detailed these laws:
- “DC Health — Food and other manufactured products that businesses offer to customers must be approved by DC Health. Businesses must also comply with DC’s food safety and hygiene laws.”
- “DCRA — Any company doing business in the district must be registered with the DCRA. The business must also comply with the district’s general business requirements, including the appropriate business license and proof of occupancy.”
- “FEMS — Companies must comply with DC Fire Code regulations, including having clear exit routes for customers and proper functioning of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.”
- “OTR — Companies must register with OTR and pay taxes in DC.”
“The joint agency inspection will be conducted without notice after a grace period of 30 days to verify compliance with the legal requirements of the business. You may be subject to fines or other enforcement actions.” The administration said in an announcement last week.
According to DCist, “Many gift businesses say they already comply with DC business regulations and pay taxes on the products they sell.”
Washington DC gift shop owner and attorney Ronnie Bramson said: Said He said the government’s announcement “doesn’t necessarily target marijuana, but it could be an easy way for D.C. to shut down businesses that don’t follow city regulations.” There is
“ABRA doesn’t seem to be interested in gift vehicles. Said“If someone wants to open a coffee shop, they will get a license and do inspections. But by its very nature, [marijuana] In business, people are more likely to open their own businesses without proper licenses. This could be the inside out way to close some of those stores. I want to make sure everyone has a license and pays taxes like everyone else. ”
Earlier this year, the DC City Council passed a measure allowing medical marijuana patients in the district to “self-certify.”
The bill was signed into law by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser last month and has been hailed as an improvement for both patients and medical marijuana providers who have outstripped sales through gift shops.