Emergency legislation now permits medical marijuana dispensaries to offer deliveries and curbside sales in Washington, DC.

Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered all non-essential businesses in the District of Columbia to close on March 24 in an effort to halt the coronavirus spread. Medical marijuana businesses were deemed essential and allowed to continue trading.

However, it has proved difficult for some patients to visit the dispensaries during the lockdown, so emergency legislation now permits deliveries. It comes into effect today and runs until August 12.

“This emergency rulemaking is necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the District’s residents reducing the spread of COVID-19 by enabling District of Columbia residents registered as qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana while also adhering to social guidelines and the District of Columbia Stay at home Order,” the document states.

The patient has to register with the dispensary and then show ID when receiving the delivery. They can be made between 11am and 7pm each day.

Dispensaries can only register one vehicle, which must not feature any branding, and these vehicles can only hold 10 delivery parcels at any one time.

Curbside pickup is also permitted as long as it takes place directly in front of the store, and within the area covered by the dispensary’s CCTV.

The District now has more than 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll rose to 67 in the past 24 hours. The city has thus far fared slightly better than other large US cities, and projections now estimate 117 deaths by August in DC.

Recreational marijuana is legal in the District, but commercial sales are prohibited due to Congressional interference, so it cannot earn any tax revenue. Retailers often sell token items like clothing and merchandise and throw in a gift of marijuana in the bundle to sidestep the law.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton is among the lawmakers to call for an end to the prohibition on adult-use sales, arguing that the District needs revenue as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. She said it is “beyond unreasonable that congressional interference” prevents the District from commercializing recreational marijuana, while 11 states across the country have been permitted to open up legal industries for recreational cannabis.

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