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Congress allows DC to implement 1998 medical marijuana law

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator December 9, 2009

    House and Senate negotiations for the 2010 Appropriations bill have been completed. This is the huge federal budget bill and it just so happens that Washington DC is a federal district and its spending is controlled by Congress.

    In 1998, DC passed a medical marijuana bill overwhelmingly, but Congressional drug warriors led by Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia prevented DC from spending any federal money to count the votes (that’s right, in our democracy’s capital, our leaders conspired to prevent citizens from counting votes in a legal election). When that was deemed unconstitutional, they spent the money to count the votes, showing that 69% of DC supported medical marijuana. So Rep. Barr created the “Barr Amendment” that prevented DC from spending any money to implement the medical marijuana program they had voted in.

    Well, today’s 2010 Appropriations bill changes all that. In addition to removing bans on abortion, domestic partnerships, and needle exchange, Congress has given the go-ahead to begin implementing DC medical marijuana!

    (US Senate) Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia: Eliminates a prohibition on the use of local tax funds for abortion, thereby putting the District in the same position as the 50 states. Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District authorities, and discontinues a ban on the use of funds in the bill for domestic partnership registration and benefits.

    DC’s medical marijuana bill was written with the same sort of open language as was passed in California… will we be seeing marijuana dispensaries on K Street anytime soon?

    129 Responses to “Congress allows DC to implement 1998 medical marijuana law”

    1. packlama says:

      i tell people i ame an athiest now. i had a lotof bad things happen in my life. tha war on drugs is one.when my mother was killed the cops wanted me too confess but i was at work three hours before she was stabbed .the cops knew this.i have no choice but too be an athist.

    2. -K says:

      Hey guys! I think all of you are putting your priorities ass backwards. You are all happy about pot becoming legal but non of you are sad that innocent babies are going to be murdered by their own mothers before they take a single breath of air. I’m sorry, but as much as I want pot to become legal in this country I beleive that protecting innocent babies comes first. Yes on funding medical MJ, NO on funding abortion. And if it means sacrificng legal pot to save innocent babies then thats a sacrifice I’m willing to make until Obama draws up a plan that funds MMJ without funding abortion. I cant beleive he calls himself a christian yet he is willing to fund abortion. That is not standing by God’s law at all. God says yes to ritualistic pot, but he says know to killing unborn children. I cant beleive you guys are all happy about the legalization of pot at the expense of innocent babies. That is sick man!!!

      [Editor's note: This is a cannabis law reform blog and comment section...it is not a proper place to politicize your personal views on abortion, Obama, etc.

      You may want to impale yourself on the abortion altar and employ it as a major deciding factor in your world view, but having the Barr Amendment end, which also just happens to include parochial issues to DC--ie, how the city spends its taxpayer dollars, from needle exchange to funding abortions to implementing a medical cannabis program--should not be used to divide the great majority of cannabis consumers, be them pro-'choice' or pro-'life', in supporting the potentially major changes that are afoot in DC.

      Ending cannabis prohibition and debates about abortion have nothing to do with each other.]

    3. -K says:

      I meant “no” to killing unborn children, not “know.” I dont know why I typed “know” instead of no. sorry for the typo.

    4. ce says:

      As a DC resident who voted on this more than 10 years ago, I am happy it looks like it may finally come to pass. I say “looks like” because I don’t have much confidence that the hill will ever take the votes of the citizens of this city seriously. There are a lot of comments here saying we finally have democracy in DC. That is just not so. Until we have a vote in the house and senate, there is no real democracy for the citizens of the nations capitol. Too many people don’t even know that. We citizens of DC are simply colonists.

      As to the people complaining about abortion funding, it simply puts us in the same position as every other state in the country in that we can determine where our tax dollars are spent. And every other state in the country has some sort of funding for abortion and reproductive health services.

    5. -K says:

      To the “Editors note”

      Is this blog simply about legalizing pot, because I thought it was about the 2010 appropriations bill plan to fund Medical Marijuana, as well as a number of other things. Is this not NORML? Are we not fighting for the constitutional right of Americans to pursue their religious freedom to use cannabis? Why are you editing my freedom of speech? That seems to go against the theme of NORML? Look, like I said before I am supporter of medical and religious marijuana. I wrote to my representatives many many e-mails urging them to change marijuana laws. I’m sorry, but I cannot support an appropriations bill that funds abortion, even if it funds the medical marijuana I have been fighting and voicing for. I have my priorities straight. Innocent babies come before medical marijuana. The reason I brought up the abortion issue is because its part of the same appropriations bill. I am not willing to support something that will fund the killing of innocent babies just so I can have my medical marijuana. I have my priorities in order. Its sad to see that so many others do not.

      [Editor's note: So you support denying women the full range of reproductive rights, but are OK if medical patients die or get arrested because of cannabis prohibition? You may see your 'priorities' as straight, others may view them as inconsistent and disrespectful of personal liberty and freedom.

      Well, such are your priorities...

      Government's spend money on policies that individuals find objectionable everyday, but that should not retard a person's ability to parse the difference in these bills, because in buying into the omnibus spending measures--either for or against individual components rolled into the whole--you're buying into the trick of modern politicians who create an 'either or' dynamic, when it does not exist in any natural way.]

    6. -K says:

      look, the bill could have been drawn up exactly the way it reads with the exception of funding going to abortions, but it wasnt, and nobody here seems to care about it except for me. To you it may seem indifferent, but to me its a sign of the times.

      [Editor's note: These appropriation bills are designed to ensnare single issue voters like you (and many elected officials). Why fall for it?]

    7. -K says:

      Yes we are all part of NORML to help reform marijuana laws, but at what expense? I’m not willing to sacrifice innocent unborn babies to get medical marijuana funding, but it looks like you and everyone else here is. Thats pretty sad.

      [Editor's note: Yes, at what expense? Your individual values inform you that denying women the full range of reproductive choices is a priority. On a pro-cannabis reform board it should not surprise you that the priority is cannabis law reform, not pushing individual values onto long-established groups that are otherwise united on a common goal.

      Your holier than thou attitude about your values being superior to others who don't vocalize their support for your views is not going to galvanize or advance the issue at bar: cannabis law reform.

      There are numerous so-called pro-life supporters of cannabis law reform, but that does not mean that they swallow legislative poison pills.]

    8. packlama says:

      i am pro choice.if im not invoved screw it.im for legal pot.i didnt get anyone pregnent so i have no say in the matter.legal pot is my concern.i am disabled and i think the pot laws suck.

    9. packlama says:

      oya what about some citys have needle exchange but nothing about legal reefer what is worse

    10. -K says:

      Not killing innocent unborn children outweighs legalizing pot. They need to take out the part about funding abortion. Thats the right thing to do.

      [Editor's note: And some believe that respecting the rights and privacy of adults outweighs the government banning men and women from deciding their own biological destinies...again, reproduction rights, and the efforts some make to deny them, is not an issue for cannabis law reformers.

      Denying people free choice...where have cannabis consumers and reformers heard that before?]

    11. alibaba says:

      can we please remove the pro-lifers from this conversation?

    12. Fin says:

      Who is this K person? And why are they going off on such a tangent? Go to an anti-abortion website if you wish to support that movement.

      I for one recommend you do not support an anti-abortion movement because that is the same backwards ass thinking that got us into a marijuana prohibition in the first place.

      It says clear as day that these comments are moderated for appropiateness, can you seriously not read that?

      No one is trying to ban your freedom of speech on abortion, but you are trying to ban someone from making their own decision about abortion.

      You, sir or madam, should maybe use some of that medicine we are trying to legalize and rethink your position on rights.

    13. packlama says:

      smoke a joint and lighten up

    14. Anonymous says:

      lets hope so

    15. -K says:

      I do smoke herb. Herb is part of the reason why I have such strong convictions against abortion. I know more about herb then most people do. Did you know that the bud of the marijuana plant is the forbiddden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil spoken about in the book of Genesis. It is also the main ingredient in the incense blend that God commanded the ancient Hebrews to burn during the holy burning of incense. God also commanded man not to abuse it. God said that if anyone were to make incense from the same ingredients for himself that he would be cutt off from his people.

    16. Fin says:

      K

      I’m sorry you are relgious. Please stop bringing it around this forum. This is NOT a religious forum and you are totally allowed to be religious on your own time.

    17. DCnicca202 says:

      I live in D.C.!!!

    18. -K says:

      Fin,
      I am not religious! I have faith, morals, and respect for the preciousness of life. If you smoke pot for no reason but just to get “high” and have a “good time” then you are the one who is religious because religion is doing something out of habit with no faith behind it. Wherever there is Marijuana there will be faith and religion butting heads against eachother. Its the ying and yang of life my friend. Deal with it instead of telling me not to come around this forum. This is just as much my forum as it is yours. How much did you donate to NORML???

    19. Lenny says:

      Heaven on earth = put coin in machine – remove MJ from machine….

    20. [...] Marijuana in DC Congress allows DC to implement 1998 medical marijuana law | NORML Blog You think this will pass? I hope it does as it is long overdue. In 1998 DC residents voted 69% [...]

    21. Jamal says:

      So, what’s the word on this? How long do we have to wait until I can legally get some marijuana for my *knee pain* and *headache*?

    22. Mark's Medical Marijuana says:

      Im looking into opening a medical marijuana dispensary in D.C according to section 7 only non profit organizations can dispense MMJ. Does anyone know if they are planing on amending this or am i going to be stuck having to run it as a non profit?

    23. [...] a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

    24. [...] a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

    25. [...] a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

    26. I tend not to leave a great deal of remarks,
      but after reading through a lot of remarks here Congress allows DC to implement
      1998 medical marijuana law | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform.
      I actually do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind.

      Could it be simply me or does it look like like some of the comments appear
      like they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing
      at other social sites, I would like to keep up with everything
      new you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of your public pages like your Facebook page,
      twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    27. [...] a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

    28. [...] a nearly fifteen legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

    29. [...] a nearly fifteen year legal and political odyssey–Washington DC voters like me voted at the nearly 69% level for medical access to cannabis in [...]

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