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Mayor Bowser Signs Order Clarifying the District’s Cannabis Policy

Friday, September 13, 2019
The Mayor’s order provides a clearer path forward for DC government employees, contractors, and grantees regarding cannabis use.

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order to provide clarity and guidance on the District’s cannabis policies and procedures for employees and applicants. The Order also directs the Department of Human Resources (DCHR) to update the personnel regulations in order to implement the new guidance. The Order, which is effective immediately, is the first step to ensure consistency, efficiency, and safety for District agencies and the residents they serve.

“As we seek to make the District’s cannabis laws fairer and more equitable, it is critical that we also provide a clear path forward on personal cannabis use for our public servants,” said Mayor Bowser. “Public service requires public trust, and these updates to our policies and procedures will protect that trust while also protecting the rights of the more than 30,000 men and women who serve Washington, DC.”

The Mayor’s Order would build upon the current policy by:

  • Reaffirming DC values, which include retaining employees and protecting personal freedoms of employees, who are allowed under District law to possess and use cannabis;
  • Providing more uniformity among agencies and clarifying the policies to employees;
  • Creating room for agencies to allow second chances for employees through progressive discipline, or, if an applicant, an opportunity to regain eligibility for the position; and
  • Providing more opportunities for current employees to avail themselves of addiction or dependence services and take leave without losing their job.

In May, Mayor Bowser introduced the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 to establish legal sales of recreational cannabis for adult use in Washington, DC. The bill enhances public health and safety, provides clarity on the use of cannabis and cannabis products, and advances equity to ensure that the benefits of the new regime go to DC’s most vulnerable communities through jobs and investments in housing. More about the legislation can be found at mayor.dc.gov/marijuana.