District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared it is time for the nation’s capital to legalize marijuana.

She was promoting a petition for the Safe Cannabis Sales Act 2019 and she has launched a campaign called Safe Cannabis DC. “For years, marijuana possession has been a pipeline to prison for people of color,” said Bowser. “We must replace that pipeline with jobs, equity, and pathways to prosperity.”

The Act builds on Initiative 71 by seeking to establish legal sales of recreational marijuana across Washington, D.C. and to introduce an effective tax regime. It would require residents to be at least 21 years old to purchase cannabis, and they would be allowed up to an ounce per day of flower or 5g of concentrate, with limits also placed on edibles and liquids.

People would be banned from smoking weed in public spaces and workplaces, but they could order it online, while the District aims to take a 17% tax at the point of sale.

Bowser would like to issue five types of licence based on cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retail and testing. There would also be a seed tracking system and a continuation of the current medical marijuana program.

The District’s residents are allowed to legally grow marijuana plants and possession of up to three ounces is also legal after 64.4% of voters approved Initiative 71 in 2013 However, sales are currently prohibited, meaning the people of Washington, D.C. cannot legally buy cannabis and the District cannot earn tax revenue.

It has created a bizarre situation whereby home delivery services sell consumer goods like hats, beverages, and artwork and throw in free weed as an accompanying gift to circumvent the regulations.

Bowser wants to see an end to that and she has been campaigning for legalization for several months. She is actively promoting the petition on social media.

Last week, she announced an expansion to its medical marijuana program, allowing medical cannabis patients from various states across the U.S. to buy their medicine at D.C. dispensaries. The ruling expanded the number of states whose medical cards the District recognizes from 19 to at least 27.

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont have now been added to the list, while Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are under review. Cards from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington State are already recognized. Bowser called the emergency ruling “patient-centric”.

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