The District of Columbia passed an emergency resolution that allows medical marijuana cultivation facilities to immediately increase plant production. DC removed an existing 1,000 plant cultivation cap that handicapped the industry’s ability to compete with the black market and surrounding states. DC’s stated goal is to provide patients with access to more products including unique strains of flower, edibles, and tinctures.
Washington DC’s medical marijuana program began in 2010. At that time, a registered cultivator could only produce 95 plants. The cap was set to avoid interference from the federal government. DC raised this limit to 500 plants in 2014 and 1,000 in 2016. DC removed the cap as current budget laws prevent the US Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.
DC currently has 6,188 patients registered in the medical marijuana program. This is a small percentage of the city’s 702,455 residents. DC’s actions could be a big revenue win for the eight (8) registered cultivation centers by increasing the number of program participants.
DC believes that patients need access to tinctures, edibles and additional strains of flower. The cap limited a cultivator’s ability to produce various strains as well as the number of plants needed to manufacture tinctures and edibles. The black market and surrounding states filled this gap for DC residents.
DC’s move could also help the jurisdiction prepare for a recreational market. The increased production of plants and products will be needed to fill store shelves and demand. Without interstate commerce, DC will need to become self-sufficient in order to compete. This is a great first step to reach that goal.