Expect Legal Sale of Marijuana In Early 2011
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Expect Legal Sale of Marijuana In Early 2011
Posted by CN Staff on July 27, 2010 at 19:08:20 PT
By Tim Craig, Washington Post Staff Writer 
Source: Washington Post 
Washington, D.C. -- District leaders say it will be months before the city begins allowing the sale of medical marijuana, even though the law authorizing up to eight dispensaries took effect Tuesday after the Democrat-controlled Congress declined to intervene.The delay is driven by a lack of detail about how the city will operate the program, which includes a first-in-the-nation provision requiring dispensaries to price the marijuana on a sliding scale so the city's poorest patients can obtain medicinal pot for free.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration will now draft regulations to license dispensaries, track doctors and users, and identify where to allow the wholesale production of marijuana. Health Department officials and Attorney General Peter Nickles said Tuesday they expect a draft of the regulations to be made public next week. The rules would then undergo a public comment and review period, which could take months to complete.Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), chairman of the Health Committee, said he does not expect the first dispensaries to open until early 2011 at the earliest. "I know people are eager for this go to forward, but I think we have to do this judiciously and slowly and carefully," Catania said.Catania said he expects the Fenty administration to formally solicit bids in the fall to operate the dispensaries, which can be run by nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Winning bidders, he said, would ideally have experience growing medical marijuana and would be able to comply with rigorous security procedures. The law also requires dispensaries to set aside a portion of their proceeds to subsidize the cost of the drug for low-income patients. Other patients will have to pay market value for the drug as well as a 6 percent sales tax to the city.Distributors will be limited to growing no more than 95 marijuana plants at a given location, an apparent effort to meet a federal law that heightens penalties on anyone arrested with at least 100 plants.After the Health Department licenses the dispensaries and cultivation centers, zoning objections from residents could further delay implementation. The law, for instance, calls for not allowing dispensaries within 300 feet of a school.The council approved the initiative in May, and under home rule, Congress had 30 legislative days to review it. The measure became law after Congress finished its business Monday night because the House and Senate declined to intervene, according to a statement from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).With Congress staying out of the issue, medical marijuana advocates called the enactment of the law a "historic" victory for their movement."By allowing this law to take effect, Congress is actually taking a positive step towards sensible medical marijuana laws that serve to better the best interests of seriously ill patients," said Mike Meno of the Marijuana Policy Project.Yet medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law and, with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration headquartered in the Washington region, some advocates remain nervous about a possible federal response.Officials with the DEA were not immediately available to comment Tuesday. But Catania said he is encouraged by an Obama administration-issued directive from the Department of Veterans Affairs allowing patients at VA hospitals and clinics to have access to medical marijuana in the 14 states where it is legal. Last year, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. also told federal prosecutors to discontinue pursuing cases against medical marijuana patients who abide by local law.The law caps a years-long struggle to act on a 1998 referendum in which 69 percent of District residents voted in favor of medical marijuana. Until last year, Congress had blocked the city from enacting the referendum.Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, said his organization will continue lobbying city officials to also allow patients to grow their own marijuana.An advisory committee is studying the idea, but Catania said he worries that home cultivation will lead to abuse and "criminal activity."Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Tim Craig, Washington Post Staff Writer Published: Wednesday, July 28, 2010Copyright: 2010 Washington Post Contact: letters URL: CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on August 01, 2010 at 08:47:05 PT
Don't forget Virginia is the home of many military training schools -- and of the CIA in Langley, VA.
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Comment #4 posted by Universer on July 31, 2010 at 01:20:42 PT:
The Old Dominion is dominated...
Virginia is nowhere close to even considering the possibility of thinking about maybe deigning to perhaps allow any cannabis to be non-illegal for any reason by anyone.Remember, Obama vote aside, Virginia is still by and large a deep red state. I know only too, too well.And if you leave the highways and highrises of Northern Virginia, where Democrats actually stand a chance, you are in the Bible-belt South, complete with all the attendant hypocrisies and irrational fanaticisms.So, to partially answer your question: In the land of Washington and Jefferson, no bleedin' way.
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Comment #3 posted by rchandar on July 28, 2010 at 13:13:57 PT:
John Tyler
Do they have measures up for vote in VA and MD? I had thought they would. State by state.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on July 27, 2010 at 20:20:43 PT
lets be fair
Will people from Virginia and Maryland be able to go to DC to pick up their medicine too? 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 27, 2010 at 19:36:34 PT
DC's Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect
July 27, 2010URL:
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