A District of Columbia councilman Monday said he wants to move quickly to establish regulations for distributing medical marijuana now that Congress voted to lift an 11-year ban on medicinal pot in the nation’s capital.
D.C. voters approved legalizing medical marijuana with 69 percent of the vote in 1998, but drug warrior then-Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.), at the time an ardent drug warrior who since says he’s become a pro-legalization Libertarian, blocked implementation of the law with the infamous Barr Amendment.
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray said the council will use Initiative 59, approved by the voters, to devise a policy that allows doctors to recommend marijuana to patients with serious illnesses, reports Tim Craig at the Washington Post.
“We’ve waited 10 years… There is no reason to sit on it,” Gray said.
Attorney General Peter Nickles said he has instructed his staff to review whether the council can use Initiative 59 to legalize medical marijuana or whether it is “too dated” to withstand legal scrutiny.
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said he has received more than two dozen emails or phone calls since late last week from marijuana growers and distributors who want to do business in the nation’s capital.
“There are probably at least 20 of these cannabis shop owners on the West Coast that have a dead-eye target on the District,” St. Pierre said.