House Republicans throw D.C. cannabis market a bone


For the first time in a decade, a potential spending bill does not block D.C. adult use cannabis

Washington, D.C. received an unexpected sign of good fortune from an unexpected place: House Republicans. The House Appropriations Committee released the Fiscal Year 2025 bill with a slew of “much-needed oversight” for D.C.

This includes blocking funds for women’s reproductive health, a needle exchange program, banning non-citizens from voting and automated traffic enforcement, appealing a criminal justice reform act and a bill that legalized assisted suicide. It also allows concealed carry of guns on D.C.’s public transportation.

What the bill does not include for the first time in a decade is the Harris Rider which has prevented D.C. from using taxes to set up an adult-use cannabis program.

The Chairman of the subcommittee that released the bill, Dave Joyce (R-OH), is also the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. He has pushed cannabis banking reform as the head sponsors of a bipartisan cannabis banking legislation.

“I appreciate that a few of my colleagues have concerns with the safety of readily accessible cannabis products—I share these, but blocking their regulation only exacerbates these issues,” Joyce told Marijuana Moment.

The spending bill also prevents any federal funds from being used to penalize banks that provide services to any legal cannabis or hemp businesses at state or district level.

Another Republican, Chuck Edwards (R-NC), already said he would bring an amendment that would block this cannabis banking section. “Its place is not in the appropriations bill,” he said in a Wednesday markup meeting.

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) voiced her support for the removal of the rider. Despite her “outrage” at many of the other parts of the bill taking authority away from D.C.

“I am pleased with many of the provisions in the text of the D.C. spending bill released by the House Appropriations Committee today, which I was able to secure despite Republican control of the House,” Norton said in a press release. “Notably, the rider preventing D.C. from commercializing marijuana is absent from the FY 25 bill.”

The rider could be added back in during the legislation process at any point in the next months, but local D.C. cannabis businesses are excited at the prospects of setting up a recreational market in D.C., bringing more tax revenue and investment to the District.

“Increased investment in the cannabis community along with this newfound tax avenue could theoretically pave the way for social equity programs to benefit communities disproportionately affected by past drug policies,” Caroline Crandall, the co-founder of a newly opened medical dispensary, Green Theory, said.

“It’s also a boon for regulation and helping to continue to make cannabis safer for consumers as more shops from the grey-market could transition to legal sales.”


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