Washington, D.C. Council Clears Medical Marijuana Bill
The 13-member Washington, D.C., Council voted unanimously to approve a measure to allow doctors to recommend marijuana for treating certain chronic conditions, the New York Times reported May 4.
The measure empowers D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to establish up to eight city-regulated dispensaries where patients with H.I.V., glaucoma, cancer, or a “chronic and lasting disease” can obtain up to two ounces of the drug per month with their physician’s approval. The mayor could subsequently increase the allowance to four ounces per month without council interdiction.
Fenty is expected to sign the bill into law.
Generally considered a victory for medical-marijuana advocates, the D.C. decision is not without controversy. While the bill prohibits district agencies from denying services to or arresting medical-marijuana users, the Council scuttled amendments to the bill that would have enabled broader patient protections, limited dispensaries to nonprofits, and allowed recommendations from doctors in Maryland and Virginia to apply at D.C.-based dispensaries.
Now, the bill will go to Congress, which has 30 days to decide whether to allow the city to enact the measure. Congress cut off funding for the creation of a similar program in 1998.