Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Are Coming to The Nation’s Capitol

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 27, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Members of Congress have declined to overrule legislation passed by the D.C. Council in May authorizing the establishment of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in the District of Columbia.

    Congressional lawmakers had up to 30 working days to reject the law. That review period officially ended Monday evening.

    In June, a pair of Republican House members, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) introduced legislation to overturn D.C.’s medical marijuana law, stating, “Marijuana is a psychotropic drug classified under Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act as having ‘high potential for abuse,’ ‘no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,’ and a ‘lack of accepted safety for use of the drug…under medical supervision.’ While certain of these principles may be open to significant debate within segments of the medical community, and among pro-legalization/decriminalization groups, [we are] opposed to re-classification and decriminalization efforts.”

    Their effort failed to gain any significant support in Congress.

    Under the new law, D.C. Health Department officials will oversee the creation of as many as eight facilities to dispense medical cannabis to authorized patients. Medical dispensaries would be limited to growing no more than 95 plants on site at any one time.

    Both non-profit and for-profit organizations will be eligible to operate the dispensaries.

    Qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at these facilities, but will not be permitted under the law to grow their own medicine.

    A separate provision enacted as part of the 2011 D.C. budget calls for the retail sales of medical cannabis to be subject to the District’s six percent sales tax rate. Low-income will be allowed to purchase medical marijuana at a greatly reduced cost under the plan.

    It will likely be several months before Health officials begin accepting applications from the public to operate the City’s medical marijuana production and distribution centers.

    District lawmakers said that the newly enacted legislation implements key components of Initiative 59 — a 1998 DC ballot measure that garnered 69 percent of the vote. Until this year D.C. city lawmakers had been barred from instituting the measure because of a Congressional ban on the issue. Congress finally lifted the ban in 2009.

    34 responses to “Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Are Coming to The Nation’s Capitol”

    1. YAAAAAAY says:

      we got the nations capitol!!!! this is great news!!!!

    2. Mark says:

      This almost seems too good to be true!

    3. old vet says:

      those to republican crimnals should be drug from thier beds and hung in the tallest trees in wasington .for violating our rights to vote on how we want to be goverened .how can the people respect the law when scum like these two do not .

    4. Mike says:

      I live in D.C.
      This is good news!

    5. Anonymous says:

      congratulations to washington.

    6. Z32TEUFELHUNDEN300ZX says:

      Didn’t they also go on record saying that they moved marijuana to schedule 3 also, or am i just misinformed?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The marijuana plant, and all of its active compounds, remain categorized under the federal CSA as a Sched I drug. Only synthetic THC, sold commercially as Marinol, is categorized as a Schedule III substance.]

    7. Villein says:

      I think this is a BIG deal. I am not sure what all it means, or will lead to, but people are going to be smoking cannabis legally in our nation’s capitol. Obama said that his administration would not be going after medical patients. My understanding is that the DEA still has been going after dispenseries. Well, right in their faces, they will be able to see how they are taking medicine away from patients by doing so. I hope this snowballs into something bigger.

      I have always said even when as a child that smoked, I would not condone someone to start, as I would not drinking. However, growing up poor in ghettos, it was all around me. I think God put everything here for a reason. Cannabis for example helped me get through those tough times with my disabilities, even as a child with both mental and physical challanges. One of my parents was a drug addict, and to cope with family and being preyed on at school, I could smoke to take my mind away. I would much rather not have needed that option, let me tell you. But now even though I still struggle with pain from the rod in my back with the spinal fusion and the since dislocated shoulder, I no longer smoke. (I have had to open heart surgeries, the first of which at 2 y/o led to the spine surgery eventually allowing my shoulder to fall out of place.)

      Why do I no longer smoke cannabis? Because like the man on T.V against legalization said, it could have anything in it, including bug spray. Or maybe even worse formaldehyde. I could go to jail because it is illegal. I could forfeight my right to vote and carry a firearm to protect myself, when I obviously couldn’t hardly “fight” my way out of much more than a paper bag, much less an attacker. It is so depressing, watching people you knew from the neighborhood get shot over a dime ($10) bag of cannibus. All because we’re not allowed to grow something relatively harmless ourselves, without me risking jailtime in my vernable state.

      Forget medical marijuana, forget even calling cannabis marijuana, the psychological warfare name of it’s (excuse me, I mean everyone else but themselves) enemies. I won’t be happy until cannabis is allowed to be produced, sold, and consumed on a level with all other goods of it’s realistic nature. I want to grow a plant carefree, other than am I taking care of it right. That way I can enjoy living, while I am curbing the pain that I live with everyday, emotionally and physically.

      Life may be ridiculous at times, but this is a no-brainer issue to me. Anything, even water can be bad for you, but would you fill in the well to dehydrate your enemy, if it meant you would risk it as well? Oh you don’t want cannabis, you just want us all to go to jail (school for criminals) and keep the police industry preoccupied. Hmmph. Anyone who disagress with me, please feel free to email me at junk.jason@gmail.com. I will explain easily why illegalization is merely a device that holds us ALL down, nonsmokers included. What else could explain this circus we have in America?

      — Villein

    8. McKenzie says:

      “Qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at these facilities, but will not be permitted under the law to grow their own medicine.”


    9. mike says:

      So D.C. has med mj, now dispensaries are coming and the majority of the nation has neither? Hmmm I guess this is good for the majority then hey? Reschedule cannabis, its a god given herb. FREE THE WEED

    10. Pain-fully Stressed says:

      70% percent of New Yorkers are waitin too. what about article coverage on new york ?