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D.C. Hearing on Medical Marijuana - February 23

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Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
The D.C. Council is scheduled to hold a hearing early next week to discuss legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal uses.

The bill, which was introduced in late January after Congress finally lifted restrictions that had long prevented a1998 voter initiative from being enacted, would allow for the creation of five dispensaries where people with specific ailments and a prescription from their primary care physician could go to obtain marijuana. Patients would also be allowed to grow their own marijuana.

Medical marijuana advocates, who feel the proposed legislation is too restrictive and does not live up to the spirit of the 1998 voter initiative, are planning on proposing a set of amendments. An early February memo from Americans for Safe Access, a medical pot advocacy group, outlines the amendments, which would include doing away with a rule that would forbid dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet from schools or youth centers, scrapping a requirement that patients pay fees to their dispensary, and allowing for the Department of Health to hold hearings after the first year of the legislation's implementation to determine whether more than five dispensaries are needed.

The memo also calls for changes so that any physician, not just a primary one, can prescribe marijuana, and so that patients can designate up to four individuals, instead of just one, to serve as primary caregivers who are able to help patients obtain their prescriptions. Another proposed amendment would do away with the rule prohibiting anyone with a misdemeanor drug conviction from working at or owning a dispensary.

The main sponsor of the legislation, Council member David Catania (I-At Large), has argued that a tightly regulated system would make it more likely that the legislation would pass congressional muster.

The hearing will take place on Tuesday, February 23 at 2 p.m. Anyone looking to testify should contact Jennifer Barry of the Health Committee (jbarry (at) dccouncil (dot) us, (202) 724-8170) by noon on Monday, February 22.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: http://www.420magazine.com/
Source: DCist
Author: Martin Austermuhle
Contact: DCist
Copyright: 2010 Gothamist LLC
Website: Hearing on Medical Marijuana Set for Next Week