Ex DC council candidate compares weed to grass clippings in longest D.C. ABC public hearing yet


Catch the Smoke: June 9, 2023

CORRECTION: This article previously misstated Jayaraman as a council member. He is not. He is a former candidate for council member at-large.

A long road ahead

In a five hour virtual public hearing, cannabis stakeholders stated their case to an oblivious Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis board. Lawyers, lobbyists, medical cannabis dispensary owners, I-71 shop owners, patients and council members all stated their issues with a set of emergency rules enacted to transition D.C’s cannabis market to a new more regulated age. 

Chander Jayaraman, ex-candidate for council member  at-large, testified against the “enormous amount of dry cannabis” purchase per person a month allowed in the amendment: eight ounces or half a pound. The majority of comments actually were in support of increasing the amount of purchasable flower and concentrates for patients. 

Jayaraman held up a two gallon Ziploc (which was not clear) supposedly filled with eight ounces of dried lawn grass, 14X12 and two inches thick. According to Jayaraman’s own research he “found that you can make about 450 joints with that amount of grass.”

Councilmember Jayaraman holds up his half pound bag of grass clippings in ABC’s virtual public hearing on June 7, 2023.

A board member even thanked him for his visual, saying it was “helpful.” Grass clippings and cannabis buds are structured completely different. Jayaraman’s visual was not only misleading but completely inaccurate. As anyone in the cannabis industry knows, a half pound of weed or 224 grams broken down into the typical one gram joint is only 224 joints – 50% less than Jayaraman stated.

Jayaraman’s surely well meant and time consuming research was a prime example of the stakeholders’ biggest concern. The policy D.C. continues to implement to regulate and form a cannabis industry lacks the most essential piece – input from the industry itself.  

Much of the actual meeting turned into education for the board on the process, use and supply chain of the cannabis industry. The last part of the hearing was dedicated to Edward Grandis of Ward 2 grilling Terrence White, the I-71 committee chairman, on security and product testing for I-71 shops, and him calling gifting shops “illegitimate businesses.” 

White responded by outlining the education he provides at his store to staff and clients, the “healthy amount of money” he pays a security company, the work his business and other stores put into community efforts, the sales taxes paid and the money given to the BID his store is located within. White explained what many I-71 shops implore the city to understand that despite some bad actors and the legal limbo of their sales many gifting establishments function as full legitimate businesses.

The main take away from the hearing, other than the board lacking fundamental knowledge of the industry and the state of D.C’s gray market, was the changes necessary to realize an equitable and functional medical cannabis expansion in D.C. are not actually up to the board. ABC is unable to rewrite the laws or make new legislation that would be able to address stakeholders concerns. Those laws must all go through city council, the mayor and therefore congress, leaving us at The Outlaw more uncertain than ever what the future holds. Listen to the whole five hours here

In other news

Medical cannabis user sued by neighbor, loses

A D.C. judge ruled in favor of a woman who sued her neighbor for the odor of him smoking weed in his own home bothering her. Though the man had a medical license, the judge ruled “he does not possess a license to disrupt the full use and enjoyment of one’s land.” This sets a precedent which complicates the legality of smoking cannabis in D.C. because you cannot legally smoke outside and now can be sued for smoking in your own home if it impacts a neighbor. 

Worth the listen: Maryland prepares for recreational cannabis on July 1st.

East coast: Pennsylvania bill calls on feds to deschedule cannabis, and Rhode Island marijuana cultivators beg for more retail to combat oversupply.

Federal: The Safe Banking Act could make an appearance in front of a Senate committee before the end of June according to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The Act has passed the House multiple times only to fail in the Senate which has also not held a formal committee hearing on the bill. 

Presidential: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, pushed Biden yet again to act on Cannabis’s federal scheduling before the election and as the Banking Act rises back to prominence. 

Labor: Green Thumb, a Chicago-based MSO was hit with an additional union unfair labor practice suit for allegedly spying on its dispensary workers in a private Discord group during their strike.

Shrooms: Sen. John Fetter (D-PA) boosted psilocybin mushrooms as a revolutionary mental health treatment and a serious economic opportunity on Capitol Hill this week.

Weekend read: The Instagram trapper meme pages have been fraught with bashing alleged terp spraying, when sellers spray garbage weed with terps and sell it. Sourwavez dove into it in a Hightimes piece: 

“These were probably (definitely) budget backdoor indoor chad packs that looked the part but had a very weak nose due to the giant commercial batch size, the choice of whatever fully synthetic salt line of nutrients used to grow it, combined with the “were late on the power bill and need to pay our trimmers” signature flash dry / trim process that most of the industry now runs on.” 

This week, don’t miss

Fashion meets music 

Grindstone Universal presents a fashion and music experience featuring Grindstone Fashion Design House with performances from Grindstone, Pinky Killacorn, Sir E.U. and DJ Trillakay at Songbyrd. (Tue, Jun 13, 7PM; $19.32)


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