Medical Marijuana for DC?

caution indeed
Photo from PoPville flickr user cacophony76

Thanks to a reader for sending the news from a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

U.S. House and Senate negotiators agreed on Tuesday on the final details of the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act:

* Washington, DC will finally be allowed to implement the medical marijuana initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in 1998 but has been blocked by Congress each year since then.

* Washington, DC will be able to use federal funds to implement syringe exchange programs.

Here’s how Congressional appropriators themselves describe the news:

Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia:…Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District authorities…

Has anyone else heard about this?

35 Comment

  • Legalize it!!!!!

    If you don’t agree with marijuana legalization, you’re more or less, a lame.

  • A whole bunch of restrictions were lifted this year including this one.

    Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia: Eliminates a prohibition on the use of local tax
    funds for abortion, thereby putting the District in the same position as the 50 states. Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use
    of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District
    authorities, and discontinues a ban on the use of funds in the bill for domestic partnership registration and

  • I have no problem with MJ as a substance and think overall, it is less dangerous than alcohol. However, I question whether lifting restrictions on medical use on a regional basis is a good idea, especially when it comes to production. For instance, while the use distribution of pot in clinics as presented only minimal and manageable problem in California, the production side has turned into a nightmare for many communities, especially in the once tranquil, pot-friendly Humboldt County. Grow houses, land grabs, local vs. federal jurisdiction battles and nearly unenforceable laws has resulted in the ruin of some NoCal towns and would be a true disaster in DC. DC is better off without local legalization and focusing on federal changes.

  • that would be phenomenal. the way congress blocked this vote from being counted a few years back was completely ridiculous.

  • I never thought I’d say this but: Hooray for Congress! Who says there’s no difference between R’s and D’s? I bet it helped that Bob Barr is now a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. Remember this and the recent military spending bill that cut some of the most wasteful, unecessary and, ironically, most difficult to cut weapons programs, the next time you step into the voter’s booth. This is bacon and it has been brought home. Now excuse me while I kiss the sky… helps with my uh, gout…..cough cough….or is my near-sightedness. I can never remember.

  • Its also been approved in maryland for years, just no infrastructure to facilitate it

  • I will likely be a sXe vegan until I die, but I find the legalization issue interesting.

    There is a fascinating documentary about legalization called:

    “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High”
    You can watch it for free on Google Video:

  • Remember this just allows a referendum on the issue, legalization (partial or otherwise) is an entirely different issue and would be reviewed by congress. The gay marriage bill will be a good litmus test for congressional meddling in DC.

    I say legalize, you’d mint at least 10,000 entrepreneurs in DC by giving legitimate employment opportunities to lots of guys that are currently small time dealers. I fear they’d still find a reason to play shoot em up of course…

  • awesome. i can’t wait to see how many sick people will be treated.

    then again, i have no problems. legalize it, then tax the hell out of it – worked for tobacco.

  • What disease does marijuana cure? I am not sure what the justification for medical marijuana is. As far as I can tell it is a scam for people currently illegally using it to try and make their own use legitimate.

    • I’m not an expert, but I read it is supposed to be therapeutic for glaucoma.

      Chemotherapy also makes many cancer patients unable to eat due to intense nausea. Marijuana is supposed to relieve that nausea.

  • Well then Anonymous at 2:22 you should do some research before making anonymous posts.

    And no one said it cures any diseases.

  • Marijuana isn’t used to cure a disease, it’s used as a pain reliever for individuals suffering from many chronic diseases (HIV/AIDS and Cancer, to name a few). From the Congressional Research Service:

    In recognition of the therapeutic benefits of botanical marijuana products, various associations of health professionals have passed resolutions in support of medical cannabis. These include the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, and the California Pharmacists Association. The New England Journal of Medicine has editorialized in favor of patient access to marijuana.

    The federal government’s own IND Compassionate Access Program, which has provided government-grown medical marijuana to a select group of patients since 1978, provides important evidence that marijuana has medicinal value and can be used safely.

  • @Pennywise:
    There already *was* a referendum. In 1998. It passed, but Congress (via the Barr Amendment) squelched it. Today’s action by Congress means that that ballot initiative can now proceed to the next step towards becoming law.

  • Regardless, any law resulting from the referendum still faces congress review correct?

  • I like it, especially if it means that the police can start fining the a$$hats for running a business in a residential neighborhood that sell it out in front of their house today. Clearly they’re not willing to arrest them now.

    At the risk of sounding like a republican…. legalizing MJ will only increase violence and robbery in this town. Seriously, prohibition is the only reason these guys have any money at all in their pocket. What will they turn to when they can’t run drugs? It’s still the same people with no job skills…but now they don’t have a business model or customers. What will the small time dealers do for work when Wal-Pot comes in and starts running them out of business? I can guarantee you these guys aren’t smart enough to figure out employment taxes and start their own brick and mortar business.

  • RD: they’ll switch to coke, PCP, rock, meth, heroin, or any of the other drug options. There’s a chance I think that they’d try and get weed related jobs. I ride a bus which takes kids to school and gangsters to killings, and I am always impressed by the level of weed knowledge among them. Its a latent labor force just waiting for legitimacy!!!

    (ahh dreams)

  • Marijuana is famous for treating people with glaucoma. And I have glaucoma. Yayyyyyy!!!!

  • may I just say that I like meat and alcohol. Often together.

  • meh. just travel frequently to some of the more progressive nations on this planet. they aren’t as freaky as the quaker/calvinist americans that populated this country, oppressed native americans, and started wars whenever possible.

    it’s an uphill battle in this country thanks to generations of religious, alcohol and domestic abuse. amsterdam is a great getaway to remind you that the country you live in is more or less a moral and ethical gameplay for the privileged. (i know i spelled that last word wrong. i hate that word!)


    dc doesn’t have voting rights, gay marriage rights (yet), medicinal marijuana rights, enormous taxation…. i could go on.

    how long until we simply refuse to put up with this crap? other “states” have overcome these issues by referendum.

    umm… what’s up DC?

  • Unfortunately, it won’t be limited to people with glaucoma, hiv, etc. In California, you can get it to treat a cough. My prediction is that it passes (because of white liberal and welfare queen support). After it passes, all the Congressional aides in Columbia Heights, who currently are breaking the law when they light up, will suddenly come down with a cough.

    • why is this “unfortunate”? i fail to see why someone smoking up in their free time is a negative.

      • It’s unfortunate because the purpose of medical marijuana is to allegedly help people who are sick. It is not supposed to be so that anyone could use it. If the purpose is for anyone to use it, then it should not be called a medical marijuana law–it should just be called legalization. In any case, people who use it should be subject to the same laws as drinking (for example, you should not be allowed to smoke and drive, or smoke outside, etc.). Right now, people like you (I am assuming you smoke pot) cause all sorts of crime in my neighborhood in Columbia Heights by purchasing pot from the Columbia Heights Village projects. We have gang violence, etc. all because of people like you.

  • Will the issue of whether abortion can be publicly funded also be made a referendum issue?

  • Even Amsterdam is getting out of the game slowly…it’s not the drug, it’s the people who make the stuff in bulk and the clientele that it attracts. You can’t run a decent sex district without the Russian Mob getting involved and you can’t have legalized drugs without the Columbian drug lords, the Taliban or North Korea getting into the action. Maybe in 50 years it will be fine, but it’s a mess in the meantime.

    Poo you seem to be somewhat ignorant of DC and World history…DC has voted by referendum on many of these issues, the Dutch originated the Slave Trade to get rich, they were hardly a model of progress compared to the Quakers and Calvinists.

    Legalized drugs don’t make you progressive, abolishing slavery does. The Quaker’s were at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement. Plus they make great “quick oats”.

  • Before we go off complaining about liberals in congress smoking pot, recall that there were more than a few Reagan staffers doing coke in the White House….

    Those in glass houses….

  • My posting said Congressional aides in general–it did not specify liberals. Regardless of party, it is illegal. I just happens that there are more Dems than Republicans.

    I still think that people only support legalization because they think they will be able to get it legally (even if there is no actual medical reason for them to use it). They don’t want medical marijuana because they think people with glaucoma need it.

    I think any medical marijuana law should have a specific clause not allowing anyone who receives government aid to purchase it. Next thing you know all the welfare queens will be asking for more money because they need to smoke pot to treat their obesity.

    • That would be a pretty stupid policy for this reason alone — glaucoma and aids patients use marijuana because it’s cheaper than prescription drugs. If you’re already poor and on government assistance (maybe b/c you are too sick and/or old to work), then what sense does it make to force you to buy far more expensive drugs.

      It’d be smarter to approve use for people with specific ailments, but that would be government meddling in medicine (and the doctor’s ability to treat as he/she sees fit.)

      Honestly, so many people use marijuana responsibly and irresponsibly now, that if the law changes, I don’t think its gonna change a thing. Smokers have their own habits — and changing the law isn’t going to change the behavior of either the responsible or irresponsible users.

      We’ll just stop spending tons of money putting people in jail, and responsible users will stop funding a small crimes defense lawyer ‘industry.’ (which is what the business of cookie-cutter drug case defense is)

  • In America we pay more per patient for healthcare and have worse outcomes than any other Country. Over 98,000 people die every year from mistakes in Surgery – that’s more than Car Accidents, Cancer and Aids COMBINED. Although still 1/5 the amount of deaths from Tobacco.

    Until American’s actually have a dependable Healthcare system – and I’m not just talking about health insurance, but actual reliable outcomes from care – why not let them medicate with Marijuana. Marijuana doesn’t kill people like prescription drugs or surgical procedures do.

    I’ve worked in Operating Rooms in 6 States and I’ll tell you from first hand experience that I’m more comfortable with a Witch Doctor singing songs and giving me a magic medical marijuana potion than getting surgery.

    Let’s provide our citizens with an alternative to a health care system that has failed us. If that’s medical marijuana, Acupuncture or Shamanistic Rituals, let them be – its not like we have a safer option in the current Healthcare System!

  • I think we should have publicly funded abortion and that it should be mandatory for any women on welfare to get abortions and be sterilized. They should put that up for a vote cause I think it would pass.

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