D.C. Council Legalizes Medicinal Marijuana

May 4, 2010 – The D.C. Council Today unanimously agreed to legalize medicinal marijuana and establish a regulatory framework for pot cultivation, distribution, prescription and use in the nation’s capital.

The bill now goes to Mayor Adrian Fenty for his signature. It must then survive a mandatory 30-day congressional review before D.C. becomes the 15th jurisdiction in the country to legalize pot for medicinal use.

Under the measure, a maximum of five distribution centers — Fenty has the authority to increase the number of centers to eight — will provide marijuana to seriously ill patients suffering from chronic or debilitating medical conditions, such as AIDS or cancer. Distribution centers, which may be for- or nonprofit, will be not be allowed to keep more than 95 marijuana plants at one time.

The pot will be grown in registered cultivation centers. Neither distribution nor cultivation facilities may be located with 300 feet of a school or recreation center.

Patients will be limited, initially, to 2 ounces of pot per month. Fenty is authorized to raise the cap to 4 ounces through a rulemaking.

“Everyone who will be authorized to handle medical marijuana — the people who cultivate and dispense it, the patients who use it and the caregivers who assist seriously ill patients — must register with the mayor and will be issued registration cards that both protect them from arrest and prosecution while helping the Metropolitan Police Department enforce our local drug laws,” said Councilman David Catania, I-At large, chairman of the health committee.

Catania shepherded the measure through the legislative process with Councilman Phil Mendelson, D-At large, chairman of the judiciary committee.

The medical marijuana law was more than 15 years in the making. District residents overwhelmingly supported legalization in a 1998 referendum, but Congress slapped a rider on D.C.’s federal appropriation that prevented the law from taking effect. Last year, Congress lifted the rider.

by Michael Neibauer. Source.

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