The article goes on to report
When D.C. voted to pass Initiative 71 and legalize marijuana, the stated vision was something like Colorado or Washington State: legally sold marijuana at stores regulated similarly to liquor and tobacco shops. But, the funding to actually create and regulate those stores doesn’t exist because Congress controls D.C.’s purse strings and enough Congressmen joined Rep. Any Harris (R-Md.) in denouncing the idea of legalization, to prevent any funding going towards legal implementation. As a result D.C. residents can’t legally buy or sell cannabis, but can legally possess up to two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants. Sharing or giving away up to an ounce is also legal, but there can’t be any money or other exchange of goods.
HighSpeed, like the local-born Kush Gods, takes the view that donations of marijuana coming with an unconnected product are completely legal under those rules. It’s the same principle under which a lot of what are called “marijuana ancillary” companies operate. Hydroponic farming goods stores that specialize in setting up marijuana growers or the people who set up seed exchanges all operate based on the oblique legality. It’s comparable to how sacramental wine was used (and sometimes fortified) to get around Prohibition, or how the term “escort” applies to other services than just a date for the evening.
“The regulations have big loopholes, and these companies have show innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well,” said Giadha De Carcer, founder and CEO of New Frontier Financials, a startup offering data and analytics for the legal marijuana industry. “D.C. is very unique and these companies have to find clever ways to monetize. Is it sustainable? I don’t know, but it’s going to continue to happen if things stay this way.”
The setup of Initiative 71 is not itself flawed, De Carcer pointed out. Rather, the law without the proposed funding is really just half a law. The barriers toward changing the situation in D.C. are steep. Barring changes in Congress, it might take some shuffling of the city’s own funds to put together the kind of regulatory system needed, a hard sell to citizens at the best of times. The size of the market of these ancillary companies operating in unexpected rule loopholes is difficult to measure, since the entire point is that they are not ostensibly marijuana companies.
“They aren’t licensed so tracking them is a herculean effort,” De Carcer said. “There has to be a shift from reactive to proactive regulation.”
There’s no denying the interest, and profit, possible in legal marijuana, which could help foment change. Meadow, another marijuana delivery platform Meadow scooped up $2.1 million in funding round just this week, and there’s a real scramble for more among both entrepreneurs and advocates looking for ways to spread legalization. For now, the juice delivery continues. HighSpeed sold out earlier this week, with sales beginning again at 4:20 p.m. online Wednesday to be delivered Thursday and on-demand delivery returning on Friday.
“D.C. is one of the most progressive areas in [marijuana] regulation,” Umeh said. “We spent a lot of time playing devil’s advocate with each other to find ways to be in compliance. We haven’t received any [legal] recoil yet and part of our raising awareness is getting people on our side. We look forward to expanding into new places soon like Boston and LA.”