Push Back Against US House For DC Marijuana
The struggle continues for appropriate access to legal Washington DC medical marijuana. While many patients have access via Washington DC dispensaries, indeed there’s still room for improvement in the DC Marijuana Program. While Washington DC medical marijuana patients are generally pleased with the lack of “CBD oil only; or vaporizer only” restrictions seen in other areas of the country, the short lists of symptoms and conditions which qualify patients for the program, and the 95 count plant limit imposed on cultivators are two areas where activists seek change.
Bill B20-766, The Medical Marijuana Expansion Amendment Act of 2014 was drawn up and introduced, allowing activists to push for a “Physicians Condition Controlled List” format, meaning that doctors, and not the government, will decide who could benefit from treatment by medical cannabis. Washington DC medical marijuana growers put their energy behind Bill B20-678, The Medical Marijuana Plant Cultivation Amendment of 2014, potentially raising the limit from 95 plants to as many as 300.
On June 12, 2014 the DC Council held a committee meeting on judiciary, public safety, and health to discuss the two cannabis bills, and hear from the public. Testifying that day were medical marijuana activists, DC citizens suffering from diseases not currently “on the list”, a Washington DC medical marijuana patient, cultivation center operators, and many other concerned citizens. Nearly all individuals present at the meeting were vocally in support of both bills. Councilman Tommy Wells promised to put these bills “on the fast track”. True to his word, Wells followed through. On July 14, 2014 the DC Council unanimously passed the Medical Marijuana Expansion Act of 2014 and it is now in effect. A licensed physician in DC can now recommend medical cannabis for ANY reason, provided it is medically valid, the patient is examined, and a legitimate relationship between patient and doctor is established. Medical cannabis patients remain hopeful regarding the fate of the Medical Marijuana Plant Cultivation Amendment, Bill B20-678, which is still in committee.
Positive moves by the DC Council to expand access to medical marijuana may foretell an eventual embrace of decriminalization or possibly even full legalization. For example, when US Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) in the US House of Representatives tried to block a recent marijuana decriminalization bill, a councilmember, who at first voted against a budget bill, switched her vote to show unity and perhaps to signal to Rep. Harris and others, “Don’t meddle in the democratic affairs of the District!” Longtime marijuana activists are acting accordingly. The DC Cannabis Campaign legalization initiative just handed in petitions with 57,000 signatures (twice the 27,000 needed) putting the legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot in November. That means Washington DC has a very strong chance at becoming the next Colorado or Washington state.
The mayor and the DC Council have seen a very successful medical marijuana program over the last 3 years, with virtually no abuse, crime, or any of the other fears usually associated with medicinal cannabis. The next logical step is outright repeal of prohibition, making Washington DC marijuana legal for both medical and recreational use for adults. The whole issue might just come down to simple democracy and the people’s will to override this reefer madness at the polls this Fall. Access to legal marijuana in DC, a dream for so many for so long, may soon become reality.