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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director July 30, 2013

    Voters in the District of Columbia approved Initiative 59, to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, with 69% in favor in 1998. The effort was immediately put on hold after the US Congress passed the Barr Amendment, which prohibited Washington from using any of its funds for implementing its medical marijuana program. A decade later, in 2009, Congress finally overturned the amendment and the city could begin to implement the medical marijuana initiative in earnest. About four more years after that, the first sale of cannabis to a licensed medical patient occurred in the District of Columbia this week.

    On Monday evening, the first medical patient in the city was able to walking into Capital City Care, a dispensary located on North Capitol Street, and purchase their medicine.

    “After a couple of years of hard work, it’s exciting to open our doors and serve the patients our facility is really for,” Scott Morgan, communications director for Capital City Care, said to The Washington Post, “This is a moment we’ve all been looking forward to for a long time.”

    Capital City Care is the first of three dispensaries expected to be open and operational in the near future, but despite this landmark moment, there is still work to be done before the system is fully functional and serving the needs of Washington’s patients in a sufficient manner.

    Currently only 8 patients have received their approved medical marijuana cards and only about 20 doctors have received the required paperwork from the city to join the program.

    NORML will keep you updated as the program moves forward. You can read media coverage from The Washington Post about this event here. You can view Capital City Care’s website here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 28, 2009

    It’s that time of year — time for one of America’s leading prohibitionist organizations, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (aka CASA), to once again report that seven-plus decades of criminal pot prohibition have resulted in making cannabis more readily available to teens than alcohol!

    Study Says It’s Easier For Teens To Buy Marijuana Than Beer
    via KPVI News 6

    A recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has some startling results about teens and drugs.

    In their study, they found that 40 percent of teens could get marijuana within a day; another quarter said they could get it within an hour. In another portion of the survey, teens between the ages of 12 and 17 say it’s easier to get marijuana than buy cigarettes**, beer or prescription drugs. That number is up 37 percent from 2007.

    [**Note: The CASA study actually reported that teens could more readily access pot than beer or prescription drugs; the percentage of teens reporting that either marijuana or cigarettes were the "easiest to buy" were equal (26 percent) -- got to love the mainstream media's dedication to accuracy in reporting. That said, the percentage of Americans actually smoking cigarettes is now at an all-time low.]

    Ask any advocate of marijuana prohibition, including CASA’s head Joseph ‘Russian Roulette’ Califano, why they oppose legalization and you will almost always receive the same response: Keeping pot illegal keeps it out of the hands of children. Yet CASA’s own survey demonstrates once again that just the opposite is true. In fact, it’s legalization, regulation, and public education — coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions — that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.

    Abdicating the production and distribution of pot solely to black market criminal entrepreneurs increases, rather than decreases, teens’ access to cannabis.

    In short, no system could possibly provide America’s children with greater access to weed than the one we have: prohibition. Now when will our elected officials get the message?