Unlicensed cannabis shops face enforcement this week unless they applied for medical licenses


D.C. I-71 shop enforcement reported to start this week

All unlicensed dispensaries who operate in the gray market under I-71, will no longer be exempt from enforcement unless they are one of the 76 applicants who applied for a medical license. Enforcement against unlicensed operators will begin after the agency publishes a list of all 76 applicants on the ABCA website, according to Fred Moosally, the Director of ABCA during February’s license info session. The list is set to be published this week, according to ABCA.

Less than 80 unlicensed shops applied for medical licenses

76 total unlicensed shops applied during the unlicensed operator period of medical cannabis license expansion in D.C. As of Feb. 8, 26 unlicensed retailers have been placarded to become legal medical dispensaries, 12 social equity applicants and 14 standard applicants. The earliest they could open would be late April. Read our full analysis here

  • The next license application period begins Mar. 1 for social equity retail and online retail applicants. Watch last week’s info session. 
  • We’ll be watching for more license approvals during this week’s Feb. 14, ABC board meeting.
  • Today is the deadline for protests against Wishing Wellness, Doobie District, Firehouse DC, Georgetown Supply and Chill Tobacco. 
  • Multiple gifting shops who were either denied or did not apply for cannabis licenses are hosting events this week, according to Eventbrite. 

The next victim in California lawyer’s web of social equity cannabis lawsuits

Jeffery Jensen filed a lawsuit on behalf of his wife Justyna Jensen, claiming that the Maryland Cannabis Administration’s requirement of state residency to qualify for social equity is unconstitutional. His Maryland case is one of at least six lawsuits he filed in the last two years in four states. He filed suits under similar allegations in California, Washington and New York. His first lawsuit in New York was settled out of court, and he successfully secured a license in his settlement. Read our whole analysis here

VA bill says legal marijuana use won’t affect child custody

Virginia’s Senate committee unanimously approved a bill to protect parents using legal marijuana from losing child custody. The bill prohibits using marijuana use alone as evidence of child neglect and excludes legal substances from drug testing in child custody cases. Similar legislation already passed the House of Delegates and awaits full Senate approval.

Illustration including headshots of Justyna Jensen and Jeffery Jensen from a 2019 California cannabis retail application.

East Coast Round Up

New York’s Cannabis Control Board will meet Feb. 16, 2024.

New York authorities cracked down on illegal cannabis shops in January, seizing over 13,000 pounds of illicit product worth $63 million. They inspected 60 shops last month.

To boost enrollment, New Jersey is scrapping the signup fee for online medical marijuana registration and slashing the renewal fee for physical cards from $50 to $10.

A Massachusetts lawyer, Sean O’Donovan, is on trial for allegedly offering a $25,000 bribe to secure marijuana licenses for his client, Theory Wellness.

A Republican Pennsylvania senator plans a bill to allow medical marijuana patients to carry firearms. Current law considers all marijuana users unlawful, blocking gun permits for patients despite their legal cannabis use. 

Governor Shapiro of Pennsylvania proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in his budget plan. While historically opposed, Republican leaders may be open to considering the proposal due to budget concerns and national momentum for rescheduling the drug.

Around the country

On HBO’s “Real Time,” rapper Killer Mike suggested giving Black people control of the marijuana industry as reparations for racial harm. He compared it to giving Native Americans the casino industry.

Young Americans are way more likely to smoke weed than cigarettes, according to a Gallup poll

After 17 years, Charles Lynch, who ran a legal medical marijuana dispensary in California, finally settled with federal prosecutors. Convicted despite state legality, he faced years of appeals and uncertainty

California’s crackdown on illegal cannabis seems to be slowing down. Search warrants served and pounds seized significantly decreased in the last quarter. 

A More Perfect Union took a deep dive into corporate cannabis. It’s worth a watch though they miss some of the nuances of New York’s failed launch and Biden’s inaction. 

A Georgia mother, Bianca Clayborne, is suing Tennessee law enforcement and social workers after her five children were taken away following a minor traffic stop in which less than a quarter of cannabis was found. 

An investigation reveals marijuana company MedMen has a pattern of not paying vendors, abruptly closing stores, and laying off employees without warning. Emails show even top executives ignored attempts to resolve unpaid invoices. 

Section 280E of the IRS code heavily taxes cannabis businesses. Trulieve’s recent $143 million refund claim for past taxes offers potential hope, but legal complexities and uncertainties remain.

From the Swamp

The House’s cannabis banking bill received four new cosponsors for a total of 102. 


Psilocybin busts tripled between 2017 and 2022 despite growing interest in its therapeutic potential, suggesting both increased availability and demand fueled by research and decriminalization efforts. 

A Massachusetts legislative committee approved a bill to legalize psilocybin therapy and establish a licensing system for facilitators. This bill is separate from an activist-backed legalization initiative currently under consideration by lawmakers.

Don’t miss this week

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