Washington, D.C. Council Sets Hearing To Legalize Medical Marijuana


Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia

​The District of Columbia Council is scheduled to hold a hearing next week to discuss legislation to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in D.C.

The bill was introduced in late January when Congress — after waiting more than 12 years — finally lifted restrictions that had prevented a 1998 voter initiative from being impolemented, reports Martin Austermuhle at The DCist.
The legislation would allow the creation of five marijuana dispensaries where patients with specific ailments and a recommendation from their primary care physician could go to buy pot. Patients would also be allowed to grow their own cannabis.
Medical marijuana advocates feel the proposed legislation is too restrictive and doesn’t live up to the spirit of the 1998 voter initiative. The advocates plan to propose a set of amendments to the bill.

Photo: julianabrint
I heart marijuana in D.C.

​A February memo from Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana patient advocacy group, outlines the amendments, which would include:
• Scrapping a rule prohibiting dispensaries from locating with 1,000 feet of schools or youth centers;
• Doing away with a requirement that patients pay fees to their dispensary;
• Allowing for the Department of Health to hold hearings after the first year of the law’s implementation to determine whether more than five dispensaries are needed;
• Allowing any physician, not just a primary one, to recommend marijuana;
• Allowing patients to designate up to four people, instead of just one, to serve as primnary caregivers; and
• Do away with the rule forbidding anyone with a misdemeanor drug conviction from working at or owning a dispensary.
Council member David Catania has argued that a tightly regulated system would make it more likely that the law would pass Congressional muster.
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 23 at 2 p.m.
Anyone who wants to testify should contact, by noon on Monday, February 22:
Jennifer Barry, Health Committee
(202) 724-8170