Medical Marijuana Now Legal in DC

Medical marijuana is now legal in Washington, DC, nearly 12 years after District residents voted overwhelmingly to approve it. The DC Council in May approved legislation allowing the city to permit up to eight dispensaries, but under Home Rule laws, Congress had 30 working days in which it could overrule the District. It declined to do so.

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US Capitol
For more than a decade, the voters' decision was blocked by the Barr Amendment, authored by then Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), which blocked the District from spending any money to implement a medical marijuana program. But after Democrats took control of both Congress and the White House in the 2008 elections, the Barr Amendment was successfully stripped from the DC appropriations bill.

"We have faced repeated attempts to re-impose the prohibition on medical marijuana in DC throughout the layover period," said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. "Yet, it is DC's business alone to decide how to help patients who live in our city and suffer from chronic pain and incurable illnesses."

"After thwarting the will of District voters for more than a decade, Congress is no longer standing in the way of effective relief for DC residents who struggle with chronic ailments," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "This moment is a long overdue victory for both DC home rule and the well-being of District residents whose doctors believe medical marijuana can help ease their pain."

"DC Councilmembers and members of Congress should be commended for providing relief to cancer, HIV/AIDS and other patients who need medical marijuana," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Now we need to make sure that everyone who needs the medicine gets it and that federal law enforcement doesn't undermine the process. Providing marijuana to sick patients in DC is a major step forward, but this law has some faults that will have to be fixed over time," said Piper. "By not allowing patients to grow their own medicine, the DC law leaves patients at the mercy of medical marijuana dispensaries and the US Justice Department -- who could shut down those dispensaries."

The bill allows people suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic, debilitating ailments to use and possess marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Patients can possess up to four ounces, but cannot grow their own, making the DC law one of the most restrictive in the country. Instead, patients will have to buy their medicine from licensed dispensaries, which either grown their own (up to 95 plants) or procure it from a licensed cultivator.

But don't expect the system to fall into place tomorrow. It is likely to be several months before the first dispensary or cultivation operation opens its doors. Mayor Adrian Fenty and the city Department of Health must now promulgate regulations for the bidding process for a dispensary or cultivation license, and once the process is completed and the permits issued, potential dispensaries will still have to undergo a zoning process in which residents could protest their locations.

Still, while it's been an awfully long time coming, the city is one step closer to actually having an operational medical marijuana program.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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It's easy to dismiss the concept of medical marijuana use because so many seem to enjoy it's effects.

But dozens of references were used by the Us Department of Health and Human Services in it's April 21, 1999 application for 2003 US Patent No. 6630507, entitled, "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants".

Millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are falsely arrested on the basis of this claim in US law: "Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, based on its high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment".

Reparations are long past due.

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Google Merc Emery. Free us all.

Legal as medical in DC...in Hawai'i Roger Christie DENIED BAIL

Why is there no sympathy for the most beautiful person in the cannabis/hemp movement Roger Christie. One thing to get busted,yet another to be denied bail for your religious thoughts of constitutional freedom. Say medical ok,but say spiritual-you get life sentence in Federal jail ? Inconsistency,logic,and Aristotle are absent from our social contract. Impeach Obama if Leonhart stays at DEA !

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