Cannabis delivery and curbside pickup services temporarily permitted by Washington, D.C. Mayor


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A 120-day long emergency rule permitting medical cannabis dispensary deliveries and curbside pickup was announced by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on April 14. 

Washington D.C.’s emergency cannabis rule was a joint decision between Bowser and the D.C. Department of Health. News of the temporary rule was initially published by The Washington Times.

The rule – depending on which comes first – may either run for the full 120 days or for 45 days after the stay-at-home order was issued on March 20, 2020

Washington D.C.’s cannabis businesses deemed “essential business” amid coronavirus outbreak 

Residents of Washington D.C. were instructed to stay at home on the same day that Maryland and Virginia’s residents were informed. On Wednesday, April 22, the combined number of infections throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia totaled 28,295. So far, as many as 1,185 deaths have been confirmed.

In the mayor’s response to the health crisis, companies operating in the legal medical cannabis industry are allowed to continue serving customers, so long as it does not increase the risks of the virus spreading. Those businesses – such as licensed dispensaries – have been classified as “essential” as health care facilities.

Only Government-issued medical cannabis card holders will be able to receive plant-based medicine during the healthcare crisis. All residents and non-cardholders will be exempt from the rule; dispensaries will not legally be allowed to deliver or transport their products to anyone who cannot verify their enrollment with the District of Columbia Department of Health.

Delivery vehicles must also be registered; drivers can do this by filling out an application form from the Department. A number of things must be provided for an application to be valid, including the vehicle’s make, model and color, as well as its license plate number and identification number (VIN).

Department of Health’s notice of emergency rulemaking for a Washington D.C.’s cannabis businesses 

As per Bowser’s announcement, the emergency rulemaking notice for Washington D.C.’s cannabis businesses details the confirmation of a temporary amendment to Subtitle C (Medical Marijuana) of Title 22 (Health) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR). Based on the official notice that was released by the Department of Health, Washington D.C.’s emergency rule for cannabis businesses is essential for ensuring good “health, safety, and welfare of the District’s residents.” 

For as long as it is required, registered medical cannabis dispensaries will be able to deliver their bud to patients, as well as offer curbside pickup and at-the-door collection options. Described as “necessary”, the rule is designed to minimize the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 by allowing registered District of Columbia residents to get their hands on medical cannabis, all the while ensuring that social distancing instructions – laid out in the District of Columbia Stay at Home Order – are abided by.

Since being adopted on April 14, 2020, the emergency rulemaking notice for Washington D.C.’s cannabis businesses went into effect instantly. A number of other cannabis-friendly U.S. states have also adopted similar roles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including Oregon, Ohio and Nevada.