As D.C. Reopens, Medical Cannabis Industry Emerges ‘Stronger Than Ever’ – Ganjapreneur

This article was written by Gaspard Le Dem and originally published by Outlaw Report.

It has been a brutal year for D.C. businesses. Amid strict coronavirus restrictions, storefronts across the District faced a new socially distanced reality, leaving them to quickly adapt their business models or perish. Some found ways to cope, but many were forced to permanently shutter their doors. At least 375 businesses have closed in D.C. since officials announced the first pandemic lockdowns in early 2020, according to a recent tally by WAMU.

Now, with coronavirus caseloads approaching new lows, commercial activity in D.C. is returning to some sense of normalcy. On May 21, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted most remaining limitations on businesses, including restrictions on capacity, hours of operation, and types of activity.

For D.C.’s fledgling medical cannabis industry, the pandemic brought significant challenges as businesses looked for ways to accommodate patients without putting them at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.

But it also had its silver linings as a wave of emergency regulations gave growers and dispensaries greater freedom to conduct their business.

The most sweeping change came in October, when D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) took over the medical cannabis program from DC Health, an agency that many had criticized for slowing the industry’s growth.

ABRA immediately adopted a more business-friendly approach, issuing a series of emergency rule changes that allowed dispensaries and growers to adapt to the pandemic.

ABRA also gave dispensaries the green light to deliver cannabis products straight to people’s doorstep, along with curbside pickup outside storefronts. A month later, the agency OK’d cannabis sales to out-of-state patients, a major boost for the industry, which was previously limited to D.C. cannabis cardholders.

Then, in March of this year, ABRA simultaneously eliminated a cap on the number of

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