|Photo: Executive Healthcare|
The D.C. Council will vote Tuesday, April 20, on a much-anticipated proposal to allow chronically ill patients to receive a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana medically, and buy it from a city-licensed dispensary.
Under the bill, which has already passed two committees, patients who suffer from HIV, glaucoma, cancer, or a “chronic and lasting disease” and who get a doctor’s recommendation will be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, defined as a “30-day supply,” reports Tim Craig at The Washington Post.
In a disturbing recent trend which started in New Jersey, patients won’t be allowed to grow their own marijuana. However, between five and eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries would be established throughout the city.
These dispensaries would receive cannabis from privately run cultivation centers, where up to 95 marijuana plants could be grown at any one time.
The dispensaries and cultivation centers would not be allowed within 300 feet of schools or preschools, and would be operated by private or nonprofit organizations and businesses licensed by the city.
According to the Post, the bill is expected to “easily pass” the council Tuesday, and could even get a unanimous vote. The council will then have to vote on it for the second time next month.
Experts say it will probably be at least a few months before D.C.’s medical marijuana program sprouts.
The mayor’s office and the Department of Health will have to devise regulations on where the dispensaries can be located. Criteria used to select which companies or nonprofits will win the right to serve the city’s potentially lucrative marijuana market are not yet clar.
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said Monday he hopes the city “moves swiftly” to implement the new medical marijuana law. He noted District voters overwhelmingly approved an 1998 initiative to legalize medical pot, which was blocked until last year by Congress.