Lawmakers in the District of Columbia have approved two bills set to reform the marijuana laws in the city. The first of these bills, the Second Chance Amendment Act, will go to Congress for final approval despite not receiving the mayor’s signature.
If passed, the Act will automatically expunge citations or convictions for marijuana convictions. This expungement applies to legal or decriminalized convictions. The expungements would finish by January 1, 2025. However, before this Act becomes law, there will be a 30-day Congressional review. Before becoming law, however, Congress will have 30 days to review the Act. Assuming Congress does not intervene, the Act will go into effect on March 16, 2023.
Initially, the District of Columbia worked to legalize cultivating cannabis at home and allowing limited possession in 2014. Following the municipal initiative, marijuana-related arrests decreased in the city by 99%. Before it passed, the District of Columbia had the country’s high per-capita arrest rate for marijuana-related offenses, with marijuana-related arrests every two hours.
With the Second Chance Amendment Act comes the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act, which the mayor did sign. However, it must also undergo Congressional review before taking effect. Should Congress approve it, this Act would significantly change the city’s medical marijuana program.
For example, it would provide tax relief to operators, support social equity, create new regulated business categories, and remove the caps on business licensing. The new law would also allow individuals to self-certify their medical need for marijuana.
City council members in the District of Columbia recently passed several cannabis-related bills. Such bills include a law permitting patients to possess more marijuana. It also provides a way for qualified, non-resident patients to apply for temporary registration cards.
The lawmakers also enacted more comprehensive legislation prohibiting employers from the following:
- Refusal or termination of employment,
- Failure to promote,
- Suspensions, penalties, or demotions due to the use of cannabis when working,
- Cannabinoid metabolites found in their bodily fluids during an employer-required or requested drug test unless additional factors are present which indicate impairment, or
- Status as a medical cannabis patient.
Employers in D.C. should review their employment policies. They must ensure all policies will comply with the new laws, should they take effect. Partnering with a trustworthy background check company is an important step in ensuring compliance. The right partner will keep up with the latest employment regulations and provide you with accurate information.
Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.