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Home Legislation Event News Washington DC: City Council Unanimously Backs Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plan

Washington DC: City Council Unanimously Backs Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plan

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Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council voted unanimously this week in favor of legislation that seeks to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in the District of Columbia.

Under the proposal (B 18-622), which is expected to receive priol approval from the Council next month, city Health Department officials would regulate up to five 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.

Patients would be able to obtain up to two ounces of dispensary-provided marijuana per month, but would not be permitted to privately cultivate their own supply. Low-income patients will be allowed to purchase medical marijuana at a greatly reduced cost under the plan.

The legislation seeks to implement components of Initiative 59, a 1998 DC ballot measure that garnered 69 percent of the vote. However, until this year DC city lawmakers have been barred from instituting the measure because of a Congressional ban on the issue. Congress lifted its ban late last year.

Once approved, Congress has 30 days to either approve or reject the measure.

At a DC City Council hearing in February, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre testified in favor of the measure, but criticized lawmakers' decision to remove patients' access to home cultivation. "NORML believes that efforts by lawmakers to place undue restrictions on doctors' abilities to recommend medical cannabis, and patients abilities to legally possess amounts that are in accordance with their specific medical needs " regardless of however well-intentioned these efforts by the Council may be " contradict the spirit of 1-59 and should be rejected by this Committee," St. Pierre said.

DC officials contend that the restrictions are necessary to avoid having Congressional lawmakers overturn the measure.

Last week, lawmakers in Maine approved legislation to allow for the creation of state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries. Similar legislation has also been approved in New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 May 2010 15:38  

Medical Marijuana News

In early June the Iowa State Pharmacy Board stated that marijuana has no medical benefits.  Susan Frey, who chairs the state pharmacy board said "there is no truth to marijuana having any medicinal benefits.".  The Iowa Pharmacy Board was reacting to a petition initiated by the Carl Olsen of the Iowans for Medical Marijuana organization.  A Polk County judge ordered the board in April to reconsider the petition to remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Iowa Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Now the Iowa Pharmacy board has relented by announcing a series of public hearings on whether or not marijuana is a schedule 1 drug.  Schedule 1 drugs are drugs that has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use  and that it lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision. or another way of saying it in plain speak marijuana is deadly, addictive and has no accepted medical use. The first hearing is scheduled for August 19th.

Iowa is home to George McMahon and Barbara Douglass, both are federal medical marijuana patients who receive a tin of 300 marijuana joints every month.  The federally provided cannabis is handled via the pharmacy network, so it will be very interesting to see what the Iowa Board of Pharmacy says after the hearings. 

For more information see a local TV news story, use the Google link or see Iowa’s Quad City Times new article.