Legalized weed, minimum wages, grocery taxes, and more: New laws for 2023 in DC, Md., Va.

By 7News Staff

The start of the new year means new laws are in effect across the DMV. Here are some laws that went into effect on Jan. 1 or will later in 2023:

Minimum wage

The living wage in the District will increase to $16.50 on Jan. 1. On July 1, the District’s minimum wage will increase to $17, trigging an increase to the living wage for non-tipped workers to the same rate. This increase is due to provisions of the amendment that tie D.C.’s minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index, according to the Department of Employment Services.

DC Parking Cashout Law

The law requires D.C. employers with 20 or more covered employees that offer a parking benefit (free or subsidized parking) to their employees to either offer a Clean Air Fringe Benefit to employees who receive the parking benefit, develop a transportation demand management plan, or pay a Clean Air Compliance fee.

Coverage for Medically Necessary Foods

The law will require health insurers in the District to provide coverage for medically necessary foods to any health benefits plan issued after Dec. 31, 2022. Find the full list of diseases or conditions that qualify here.

Paid Family Leave Enhancement

For the first time, as part of the total eight maximum weeks of paid leave currently available, employees will be eligible to receive up to two weeks of paid medical leave to care for their own serious health conditions. Employees will also be eligible to receive leave for more than one qualifying event per year, within the eight maximum total paid weeks.

Zero Commercial Food Waste Requirements

Starting Jan. 1, commercial food waste requirements will extend to retail food stores with a floor area of at least 10,000 square feet and to colleges and universities with at least 2,000 residential students. Click here for more details.

New 311 Service Request for Dockless Vehicles

Enhancements are coming to report complaints about the parking of dockless e-bikes or scooters in the District on Jan. 1. Offcials said response tickets will be issued to the shared mobility operators, who are required to remediate illegally parked dockless vehicles within two hours.

The statute requires that, by Jan. 1, the dockless vehicle company shall also provide, on each shared fleet device, information on how to report an illegally parked device to the District’s 311 Call Center, and DDOT is updating its permits to reflect this requirement.

Minimum wage

Virginia’s Minimum Wage Act will increase rates to $12 an hour. Virginia’s current minimum wage rate is $11.

Grocery tax cut

Beginning Jan. 1, the sales tax rate on groceries will decrease from 2.5% to 1%. Virginia is joining the vast majority of states and getting rid of the grocery tax. This goes for most staple grocery items, but does not include alcohol, tobacco or prepared hot foods.

Privacy law

This new law will control data collection and limit how much personal data is collected.

Arlington ranked-choice voting

Arlington became the first locality in Virginia to use ranked-choice voting, after the county board approved a plan to try out the ranked-choice system for the upcoming county board primary election in June 2023.

Notify parents of ‘sexually explicit’ content

Starting January 1, a new policy requiring Loudoun County public schools to provide parents proper notification when teaching materials will include “sexually explicit content,” as mandated by state law. Under the policy, Policy 5055, the purpose is, “to provide for advance notification of the intended use of any instructional materials with sexually explicit content in their child’s education, to provide parents the ability to inspect and review those materials, and to ensure parents have the opportunity to select for their child the option of alternative instructional materials and related academic activities that do not contain sexually explicit content.”

Minimum wage

Maryland’s rates will increase to $13.25 in 2023. The current wage is $12.50 an hour.

Legalized marijuana

Starting Jan. 1, the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis is no longer subject to criminal penalties, while the possession of greater quantities will remain subject to existing criminal penalties. The law also establishes a process for expunging all cases in which possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is the only charge, along with additional expungement provisions.

Maryland laws for legalized recreational marijuana for adults older than 21 are set to take effect on July 1, 2023, after voters passed ballot measures in November that approved the change. The law takes effect July 1, allowing adults 21 and older to possess, smoke and grow the herb with restrictions on possession of over 1.5 ounces.

Water Assistance Relief Program

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a $20 million “Water Assistance Relief Program” to support residents with water bill debt, related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The credits will cover outstanding water debt from residential customers that was accrued between January 2020 and September 2022. The application period for water systems to apply for funding will begin on January 2.

Maryland Medical Assistance Program

The Maryland Medical Assistance Program, beginning Jan. 1, subject to certain limitations, will provide dental services, including diagnostic, preventive, restorative and periodontal services, for adults whose annual household income is at or below 133% of the federal poverty level; and repealing certain provisions of law requiring the implementation of a pilot program to provide limited dental coverage to adult recipients under the Program.

Read more: Newsbreak