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D.C.'s Medical Marijuana Law Needs Your Support Now

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If you live in D.C. or know anyone who does, we need your help to ensure that the D.C. Council passes sensible medical marijuana regulations. The current bill is a good effort, but we need to educate the Council about a few issues before the vote next Tuesday. Here are a few of the problems we hope to address:

1. The bill prohibits patients from cultivating their own medicine. Personal cultivation is essential to ensuring that patients have affordable and reliable access to their medicine.

2. The bill invades patient privacy by requiring detailed records of every purchase. This information puts patients at risk under federal law. Purchase records must be kept anonymous.

3. The bill states that patients may only medicate at their own residence or in a hospice. No other medicine is treated this way, and such a rule will create constant hardship for sick people. Patients should be allowed to medicate in any appropriate private residence if they have permission to do so.

4. The bill establishes a monthly purchase/possession limit of 2 ounces. Some patients will need more medicine than this. The limit should be 4-8 ounces, which has worked well in other states.

5. The bill only allows doctors in D.C. to issue valid recommendations. Patients with doctors outside the District should not have to change their medical care to qualify for the program.

Please contact your Council Member as well as the At-Large Members this week to make sure our concerns are addressed in the final bill. Click here for more info, including contact information for the Council. It only takes a few minutes and every call makes a difference. Thanks!
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D.C.'s medical marijuana

Allowing personal cultivation would render the other 4 points of contention mostly moot.

please consider answering my obnoxious questions that i ask when

i should just read the bill myself. i don't mean to be a stick in the mud, personally I'm all for these reforms. just trying to foresee some possible objections

1. The bill prohibits patients from cultivating their own medicine. Personal cultivation is essential to ensuring that patients have affordable and reliable access to their medicine.

Why? I ask this because I can't imagine that a lot of patients would grow their own. Isn't it really expensive to invest in all of the equipment and everything? I mean, no one in DC grows their own vegetables or brews their beer. Plus, doesn't the bill include affordable medicine for low-income patients?

2. The bill invades patient privacy by requiring detailed records of every purchase. This information puts patients at risk under federal law. Purchase records must be kept anonymous.

wait a minute, it's a medical business. Isn't keeping detailed records the norm? pharmacies do that, right?

5. The bill only allows doctors in D.C. to issue valid recommendations. Patients with doctors outside the District should not have to change their medical care to qualify for the program.

but no one would have to change their medical care, they would just take on a new doctor. This isn't a foreign concept to anyone, people do this all the time when they start to see psychiatrists, gynecologists, therapists, etc. Plus, let's say that a doctor living in Virginia prescribing mmj was found to be mal practicing in some way. Since they do not practice or live in DC, could the doc be prosecuted under DC law? He certainly couldn't be prosecuted in Virginia, because the law doesn't exist there.

if anyone feels like educating me, i'd appreciate it :)

Re:

With regards to patients cultivation, it's important for several reasons. The feds can't raid everyone. The dispensaries can't rip people off. Patients can choose the strain that works best for their symptoms. The list goes on, but suffice to say it's a key feature of the best state programs around the country.

With regards to the records, this level of detail is unprecedented. It's problematic for operators and it could be used against patients in court (unlikely, but why take the chance?). You can track sales without incriminating anyone.

With regards to doctors, D.C. is very small and many residents receive healthcare outside the District. Not everyone can afford to change their medical care. There is simply no good reason to restrict this.

Anonymous 4:01 posting- You

Anonymous 4:01 posting-

You raise a couple good points to look into further. As a mmj patient and healthcare worker in California, I have this to add:

1. Many, many patients grow their own medicine in California when healthy enough to do so. It's far cheaper than buying from a dispensary and gardening generally adds to patients' quality of life (provided it's legal to do so).

2. This is a surprisingly and incredibly convoluted issue. You have many factors in this equation: Federal law, state law, the DEA, and HIPAA. Under Federal law, "all businesses that manufacture or distribute controlled substances, all health professionals entitled to dispense, administer or prescribe them, and all pharmacies entitled to fill prescriptions must register with the DEA." However, HIPAA (patient privacy laws) seem to limit the provision of information (records of patients at dispensaries) to the DEA, according to a witness from said agency.

However, that's not necessarily true, because controlled substance violations don't have to respect part or all of HIPAA. It's ambiguous at best-but usually nothing happened to individual patients when records were seized pre-Obama-days at California dispensaries.

Basically, no one really knows what to do, although the memo ordering the halting of prosecution from the Dep. of Justice *should* have taken care of this crap already.

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