Council Cautious on Legal Marijuana
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Council Cautious on Legal Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2009 at 19:44:05 PT
By David C. Lipscomb, The Washington Times 
Source: Washington Times
Washington -- D.C. officials Wednesday said they would proceed cautiously if Congress lifts a federal roadblock to implementing a voter initiative approved more than a decade ago that called for legalizing medical marijuana.Congress is poised to pass an omnibus spending bill that will not include a rider known as the Barr Amendment, which has blocked the District from legalizing medical marijuana.
The Barr Amendment has banned the city from funding legalization efforts since 1998, when 69 percent of voters cast ballots approving the use of medical marijuana in the District.Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray called the removal of the ban a victory for home rule. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gray said the chairman would meet with members to discuss how to proceed."This just happened. It's too early to say what will happen." Gray spokeswoman Doxie McCoy said.Council member Phil Mendelson, chairman of the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, said he, too, was unsure of how to treat the initiative after so much time."It's been 11 years since anyone has looked at this," he said. "I don't know what the next steps should be."D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles said only, "I'm studying it. It's a complex issue."A spokeswoman for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics said that voter initiatives such as the medical marijuana initiative are transmitted to the council after they are passed and the council then submits the measures to Congress, which has 30 sitting days to take action against the initiative.Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the absence of the Barr Amendment, originally added by former Rep. Bob Barr, then a Republican from Georgia, paves the way for legalization of medical marijuana."The residents who need medical marijuana will have a cloud removed from over them," Mr. Mirken said. "It's time D.C. pulls this law out of the mothballs."Mr. Mirken said he does not expect the Democratic Congress to overturn the initiative. He said that if the measure passes, the city's Department of Health would be responsible for developing plans for the safe distribution of medical marijuana.D.C. Department of Health spokeswoman Dena Iverson agreed, saying the agency's responsibility is to regulate health issues in the District. Those duties include licensing pharmacies.Initiative 59 was primarily pushed by the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power known as ACT UP. The group got a second chance in February 1998 to collect signatures to get the initiative on the ballot after falling short of the required number by 800 and having 4,000 disqualified.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author:  David C. Lipscomb, The Washington Times Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Washington Times, LLC Website: letters washingtontimes.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on December 10, 2009 at 14:30:47 PT
"Soapbox mode off"
You can turn it off?I didn't know that.Mine's stuck to my foot... and I keep kicking... but it still keeps being there and will be I guess until I die or this dreadful social policy is changed."Live and let live!"What a concept.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 14:13:11 PT
charmed quark
You made me think of this song. I love the word Democracy and it's meaning. Democracy By Leonard Cohen
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on December 10, 2009 at 12:33:40 PT
Barr Amendment
Soapbox mode on:
If this is removed from the spending plan, it will mark a major movement of the USA back to being a democratic republic, as opposed to the police state toward which it has gradually been moving - all in the name of a war-on-some-drugs.
Soapbox mode off.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 07:48:53 PT
Medical Marijuana on The Way in D.C.
Funding bill would allow D.C. to implement decade-old law.By Chris NeedhamDecember 10, 2009Medical marijuana could be legalized in D.C. if a giant government funding bill passes Congress. House and Senate conferees have come up with a compromise conference agreement that would provide funding for most federal departments and agencies. But unlike past years, there is no provision that would prevent D.C. from legalizing medical marijuana.In 1998, D.C. voters approved a referendum that would allow the possession of and usage of medical marijuana. Republicans in Congress swiftly blocked the referendum by placing a provision in funding bills that prevents D.C. from enforcing or implementing the law. That provision has appeared each year until this year's funding bill.The conference agreement must be adopted by the full House and the full Senate. Neither chamber can amend the bill; it's a straight up-or-down vote.The bill would also allow D.C. to begin a needle exchange program, as well as to use local funding to help low-income women receive abortions.It's that last provision that's going to make passage trickier than usual. Activists on both side of the issue are lining up and squawking. The Post notes that 35 Republican Senators have already informed the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, that they will do whatever they can to block passage of a bill that alters current abortion policy.It's not clear sailing for D.C. and its medical marijuana users yet, but D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said that "this is a great triumph for the District... It will be hard to take this one out. We're almost home free."Copyright: NBC Local Media
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on December 10, 2009 at 03:53:16 PT:
All this time, and they still don't get it
All of the proposed laws and all the bickering about the minutiae contained within them serve to illustrate something that should be clear to anyone with three brains cells to click together.Namely, that they are wholly unnecessary under a legalization/regulation schema.All this concern about where a dispensary will be located is needless. It's both silly and stupid. After all, alcohol causes vastly more damage to society than cannabis ever could, and how many liquor stores are on any city block? How many are in close proximity to schools? Who's screaming about that in city councils?All these contortions, all these angels/heads/pins arguments, it's all so pointless, but the people who engage in them just don't get it...or don't want to. And thus they make themselves look even more foolish to the electorate, who will soon tire of all the Punch-and-Judy and say to Hell with it, just legalize it and quit wasting our time...and more importantly, quit wasting our money. 
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on December 10, 2009 at 03:49:37 PT
ten years...
...a billion dollars a day... pretty soon it adds up to real money!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on December 09, 2009 at 19:55:15 PT
Be cautious ...
wait another 10 years!Duh!
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