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A Medical Marijuana Card with No Doctor Required?


medical marijuana cards with no doctor required

For the great deal of good that is accessible in medical marijuana, getting access to medical marijuana can prove to be a hassle sometimes. This reality is even more pronounced for seniors who need access to medical marijuana but are always required to see doctors first. Fortunately, news arriving from DC shows that the mayor has recently signed a new bill that will ease this trouble for seniors needing medical marijuana.

This new bill is lined up to remove the need for seniors over 65 to see the doctor for renewals along with other incentives to make life easier for medical marijuana users. Read on as we look into how doctors might not be needed for seniors to access medical marijuana in DC and other peculiarities of this new bill.  Hawaii recently adopted a similar medical marijuana rule for anyone over 65-years old.

New Dawn for Seniors and Medical Marijuana in DC

Medical marijuana is as important to senior citizens over 65 as it is to adults below 65. Contrary to misconceptions, it is exceptionally useful for seniors dealing with sleep disturbances, pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and other common conditions. This makes access to medical marijuana important for many seniors who have the natural herb to thank for getting through these conditions. This access has now been improved with the mayor of Washington signing the bill to improve the District’s medical marijuana program.

The new bill will allow seniors under medical marijuana in the District to be able to certify themselves eligible for cannabis without needing a doctor’s recommendation. The bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) two weeks after it was sponsored by Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and approved by the DC Council. The law does more than make life better for seniors as it creates a new 4/20 cannabis tax holiday and extends the registration renewal deadline for patients. The law is under the Medical Marijuana Patient Access Extension Emergency Amendment Act of 2022.

This is not the first time that such a feat has been tried in recent times but it’s the first time that such moves will yield actual results. A lawmaker had initially proposed a similar but separate reform bill for medical cannabis aimed at easing registration for patients. The bill was aimed at reducing the long queues and waiting for several weeks that patients go through before getting approvals and renewals. That bill didn’t get the approval of the DC Council much like a similar bill in 2017 too.

Positives to take from the new bill

It is easy to see what the ruling body is seeking to achieve with this new bill and there are many positives to take from it. Firstly, this new legislation seeks to ensure patients get their products from licensed dispensaries. The lack of logistical troubles of seeing doctors regularly should encourage patients to easily patronize legal dispensaries and get their products when needed. It also ensures that black market vendors stop taking advantage of the presumed stress of seeing doctors make quick sales to patients.

Another positive from this bill is that it will help to reduce the increasing costs of cannabis both in licensed dispensaries and local gray market vendors. These costs have been growing steadily with the increase in activities of cannabis storefronts and delivery services. With the removal of expenses needed to see physicians for recommendations and renewals, the overall cost of purchasing cannabis becomes reduced for such seniors.  This removal of recommendations will require these seniors to be self-certified, a process by which the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) with be assisting seniors within the “Senior Week” from 22nd to 25th of February.

The 4/20 Medical Cannabis Sales Tax Holiday Week helps to assure these two goals of the bill as patients will not pay the six percent sales tax during that period. The week this year starts from Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 24. Registrations issued to patients and caregivers till September 30 will be applicable for 2 years which is double the term it served for. Registration fees are also waived through April 24 which will provide a much-needed incentive for people to register quickly.

Future of cannabis legislation in DC

This new bill is the first of many implementations that are bound to happen for cannabis laws in DC in 2022. The Mayor had stated in April last year that officials are about to create a working system in the state to house recreational marijuana. This is bound to happen after the District gets over the issue of congressional interference. Once achieved, residents of the district can now rejoice over easier access to the natural herb for medical and recreational use. The opening of markets for adult use will mean further growth for the cannabis industry in the district and shun the growth of black market vendors.

The new bill will also see at least half of legal marijuana businesses licenses in the district awarded to social equity applicants. These are people who have had marijuana arrests in recent years or faced cannabis-related offenses. The tax for medical cannabis will remain at six percent while the tax for recreational use will be fixed at thirteen percent. Thirty percent of the revenue generated from these taxes will be remunerated towards a Cannabis Equity and Opportunity Fund. This collated fund will be used to help the social equity applicants with loans, grants, and technical assistance. Fifty percent of the same tax revenue will be reinvested into the community to prevent homelessness and ensure economic development.

Bottom line

The days ahead are looking brighter for seniors in need of medical marijuana in DC and it is sure to get better. With lesser restrictions, more seniors can easily procure the products whenever the need arises. Self-certification also helps to reduce associated costs with no need for recurring visits to see a doctor. Advocates and cannabis reform loyalists are still pushing for more changes but this is a step in the right direction.






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