The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a Financial Services bill last week that would lift a ban on pot shops in Washington, D.C. and allow the capital to begin establishing a commercial marijuana market there.
The move would make the District the first eastern region in the United States to regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Although marijuana is currently legal to possess, cultivate, and transfer in the District, an amendment tacked on to a federal spending bill by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) put retail cannabis sales on hold.
D.C. Councilmember David Grosso had previously stated that a regulated legal market for marijuana sales could be put together by mid- to late-2016 if majority leaders in the House and Senate prevented D.C. budget restrictions.
The Obama administration’s 2016 budget plan contains specific language to allow D.C. to move forward with legislation regulating marijuana sales, and Rep. Harris released a statement announcing he would not introduce another amendment to block the program.
The amendment currently in effect is set to expire at the end of September 2015, at which point Washington D.C. can finally work on getting its retail cannabis market off the ground.
Photo Credit: Greg Knapp