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ABC Board expands medical cannabis delivery service, reduces wait time for employees to start working

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Today, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board, in their first action as the new administrators of the District’s medical cannabis program, adopted two emergency rulemakings focused on bolstering patient access.

Effective immediately, dispensaries may use up to three vehicles to deliver medical cannabis between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., daily. Previously, dispensaries were limited to one vehicle and medical cannabis deliveries were limited to 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

In April 2020, DC Health, the previous administrator of the medical cannabis program, adopted an emergency rule authorizing dispensaries to deliver medical cannabis to prevent immunocompromised patients from potentially being exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and ensure patients with a confirmed or suspected infection could still access their recommended medicine while in quarantine.

The second rulemaking allows new cultivation center and dispensary employees to work—up to 45-calendar days—while the results of their criminal background check are pending. By reducing the time to onboard new employees, dispensaries and cultivation centers will be able to more nimbly meet patient demand.

“We look forward to collaborating with key stakeholders including patients, caregivers, healthcare practitioners, industry leaders, and advocates to further enhance what has become a national model program,” said Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Director Fred Moosally. “A debt of gratitude is owed to DC Health for helping to pioneer medical cannabis in the District, and to Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council for entrusting ABRA to shepherd the program into its next chapter.”

The medical cannabis program’s transition from DC Health to ABRA was authorized by the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 and became effective October 1, 2020. Permanent legislation is currently undergoing the legally mandated 30-day congressional review.

During the Program's transition period, patient and caregiver applications, healthcare practitioner medical cannabis recommendations, and all other standard service requests will continue to be processed uninterrupted. Additionally, per Mayor’s Order 2020-063 all medical cannabis registration identification cards, including patient cards, with an expiration date after February 28, 2020 will remain valid until 45-days after the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency concludes.

Applications and related resources are now available at abra.dc.gov—and will continue to be available at dchealth.dc.gov through October 31.

Program inquiries may be directed to (202) 442-4423 and [email protected]