Medical Marijuana in DC: The Council Gets It Right
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Medical Marijuana in DC: The Council Gets It Right
Posted by CN Staff on February 21, 2010 at 05:29:29 PT
By Wayne Turner
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- It's been 10 years now, so some history is in order:In 1998, voters in the District overwhelmingly approved Initiative 59 to allow seriously ill people, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or those suffering from AIDS-wasting syndrome, to use medical marijuana under their doctor's supervision. But every year for a decade, Congress passed an amendment to the D.C. budget stopping the measure from taking effect. The hold on medical marijuana, of course, was just another in a long line of congressional interference with local affairs.
Congressional meddling was hardly the most formidable challenge faced by the AIDS activists who organized the Initiative 59 campaign. As the petition deadline approached, the initiative's original sponsor, activist Steve Michael, was hospitalized and died from AIDS-related complications. Supporters rallied to continue the campaign in his memory, gathering nearly 20,000 signatures in less than four weeks. Then, when the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics certified the initiative for the November ballot, Congress passed an amendment blocking the city from counting the votes. The ballots would be impounded for 11 months after the election until a federal judge ordered their release.The result was unequivocal. Initiative 59 passed with 69 percent of the vote. It won in all eight wards and in every precinct. So, naturally, Congress stepped in again, this time with the amendment that kept Initiative 59 from taking effect. In truth, organizers were quietly relieved Congress didn't completely overturn the initiative.Congress's medical marijuana prohibition was nothing new. The District's domestic partnership law took nearly a decade to implement because of a similar "social rider." Local funding for needle exchange programs and abortion services for low-income women were also blocked by congressional fiat. It would take a concerted, multiyear effort by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and local democracy activists to finally secure passage of a clean budget bill -- a rare victory for D.C. voting rights advocates.Which brings us to the current moment. With the ban lifted, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), along with council members David A. Catania (I-At Large) and Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), has introduced legislation to implement Initiative 59. It's a sound proposal that tracks the design and intent of the original initiative by creating a tightly regulated system whereby patients with serious, chronic or debilitating medical conditions can have safe and affordable access to medical marijuana.That's good, because in recent years we've seen what a vague law and lack of regulation can do. Appropriately, the council members seek to head off the abuses that have emerged in some of the 14 states with medical marijuana laws. California's law, for example, is so broadly worded that almost any use of marijuana could qualify as medical.The council's bill would limit the number and location of dispensaries and require tight monitoring of marijuana distribution. In this way, the proposal builds on the framework in the initiative's original legislative text, which called for dispensaries operated as nonprofits subject to government licensing and regulation. AIDS activists included those provisions to ensure that only patients with serious medical conditions would be covered. In addition, nonprofits would allow low-income residents to have access to medical marijuana and prevent entrepreneurs from profiteering off sick patients. The council's bill also includes a sliding-scale fee system to ensure that dispensaries provide access to medical marijuana regardless of ability to pay. The council correctly recognizes that tight controls protect patients as well as the community -- and will prevent the kind of free-for-all that recently compelled Los Angeles to crack down on unregulated dispensaries.Yes, the proposal may be too restrictive for some, but Initiative 59 was never about promoting casual or recreational use of marijuana. And the council's cautious approach is appropriate for another reason: Under the Constitution, Congress retains the authority to overturn D.C. legislation at any time. It would be a grave mistake to unnecessarily provoke further congressional interference by creating a system vulnerable to abuses. The council's plan represents the best chance to implement medical marijuana and to protect those patients whose quality of life may depend upon this medication of last resort.Wayne Turner was the co-author of D.C.'s medical marijuana Initiative 59 and led the campaign after the death of his life partner, Steve Michael.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Wayne TurnerPublished: Sunday, February 21, 2010 Copyright: 2010 Washington Post Contact: letters Website: URL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on February 23, 2010 at 16:12:21 PT
D.C. Wire: Medical Pot Rules
Questions Remain Unanswered on D.C. Medical Pot RulesFebruary 23, 2010Questions about how and where marijuana would be grown and distributed in the District if the D.C. Council legalizes the drug for medical use remained unanswered Tuesday as dozens of residents testified at a hearing in support of the legislation.Nine out of 13 council members are co-sponsoring the bill that would make the city the 15th jurisdiction in the country to offer the option to the chronically ill.The logistics will have to be worked out through regulations, said Pierre Vigilance, director of the Department of Health.Dr. Pat Hawkins, clinical director of the DC Community AIDS Network, told council members that a coummunity advisory panel should be formed to help implement a system.The legislation calls for the creation of five dispensaries, which could distribute a month's supply to a registered patient as prescribed by a physician.But Steph Sherer, of Americans for Safe Access, said the city should consider permitting more locations. She pointed to Oakland as a comparison. She said Oakland has four locations, but that was not enough to provide adequately for patients. "They're upping it to six now," she said. "It's too few....People have to wait a long period of time."Where would the dispensaries be placed? Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) said she hoped the sites would not be clustered in one area.Advocates appeared most concerned with getting the bill passed and untouched by Congress. In 1998, voters approved an initiative, but it was blocked by Congress. "As we proceed, we have another issue and that's 535 members of Congress," said Wayne Turner, sponsor of Initiative 59.-- Nikita StewartCopyright: 2010 The Washington Post Company URL:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on February 23, 2010 at 05:47:22 PT
Dozens To Testify On Medical Marijuana in DC
February 23, 2010Washington, DC -- More than 50 people have signed up to testify at a DC government hearing on medical marijuana.City lawmakers are holding a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would spell out who would qualify to get medical marijuana in the city and how it would be distributed to patients approved to use it. DC voters approved a medical marijuana law in 1998, but Congress had blocked the implementation of the law until recently.The soonest the bill could be voted on in final form by the council is May.Copyright: 2010 Associated PressURL:
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on February 22, 2010 at 10:51:40 PT
I have notice more then one time that Republicans don't seem to flinch at the cost of war just health care. There's an old song that says:"There's plenty good money to be made, supplying the Army with the tools of it's trade"- Country Joe McDonald 
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Comment #16 posted by Totalrod2 on February 22, 2010 at 10:41:42 PT
After reading that...
It seems like voting is pointless. They're still going to do whatever the hell they want regardless. The recent ruling allowing for big corporations to pay for political campaigns is a perfect example It's too bad the only thing our government seems to understand is bloodshed.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 22, 2010 at 05:05:52 PT
Is today the day you must go to court? If so I wish you the very best.
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 23:46:08 PT
I had an epiphany! [it's an orphan though]
You know, after America won the Revolutionary War, the cruelest thing we did to the British was steal their H's! They still talk funny 'till this day,!Have you heard that America and England are two countries divided by a common language?
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Comment #13 posted by The GCW on February 21, 2010 at 22:04:31 PT
Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer arrested
Olympia (WA)Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer arrestedCOURT: Hyer accused of twice selling marijuana to confidential informantPublished February 19, 2010 Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer's blossoming political future appears to be in jeopardy after he was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of selling marijuana, two days after his informal selection to become the next county treasurer. Cont.
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on February 21, 2010 at 19:46:33 PT
The costs, the economy, the waste.
US WI: County Gets $322,011 For Drug Investigator
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Comment #11 posted by The GCW on February 21, 2010 at 19:25:21 PT
Good IOWA Editorial 
US IA: Editorial: Yes, 'Compassionate Use'Pubdate: Sun, 21 Feb 2010
Source: Quad-City Times (IA)
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on February 21, 2010 at 19:12:25 PT
US CO: Column: Want To Run The Show? Go RoguePubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 Source: Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO) TO RUN THE SHOW? GO ROGUE "I am in control here in the White House." - Secretary of State Alexander Haig, 1981. Ah, the good old days when even a big shot like Gen. Al Haig could get in trouble for such mavericky declarations that defy basic constitutional precedents. In the 21st century, that's ancient history. We've so idealized cowboy-style rebellion in matters of war and law enforcement that "going Haig" is today honored as "going rogue." Defiance, irreverence, contempt - these are the moment's most venerated postures, no matter how destructive or lawless. The Bush administration's illegal wiretapping and torture sessions were the most obvious examples of the rogue sensibility on steroids. But then came McCain-Palin, a presidential ticket predicated almost singularly on the rogue brand. And now, even in the Obama era, that brand pervades. It began re-emerging in September with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's Afghan escalation plan. McChrystal didn't just ask President Barack Obama for more troops - protocol-wise, that would have been completely appropriate. No, McChrystal went rogue, pre-emptively leaking his request to the media, then delivering a public address telling Obama to immediately follow his orders. Of course, while McChrystal's insubordination was extra-constitutional in spirit, he at least made the effort to obtain the commander-in-chief's rubber-stamp approval. The same cannot be said for the rogues inside Obama's Drug Enforcement Agency. Cont.
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on February 21, 2010 at 13:49:40 PT:
runruff's wild run
i could understand it. After a while, getting pumped and preached over and over again about how one lives the wrong kind of life can make human endeavor seem pretty meaningless. I guess a little fun can't really hurt people that much......but, to return. Ours is not an issue based upon faith and spirit alone. It is in the hands of attorneys and based upon RESEARCH. That's very important. but runruff seems to have a fine perspective: hey, should you have your ???, it's better than nothing. it's important that our page allow people to criticize seriousness when it is overabundant. myself, i don't know if i'd look at the link, though: those are the kind of pics that crash thy computer.another thing. What did "their side" do for us?NOTHING??!!Well, that's why we're unhappy!!!--rchandar
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 21, 2010 at 13:26:49 PT
James Crosby 
I would never think of banning runruff. He is a free Spirit and everyone here knows that and really appreciates him.
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 12:36:29 PT
What do you mean?..."get banned runruff, if you keep spamming like that."
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Comment #6 posted by James Crosby on February 21, 2010 at 12:34:33 PT:
I think you are going to get banned runruff, if you keep spamming like that.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 09:01:42 PT
Hope et al....
about me for a moment?Spaceman reruns his show evey Monday. I am about one hour into the show. See website for info: want to tell you about my presentation. I have rewritten Tattoo Zoo into a staged drama realism theater for radio I call it. So don't expect just a reading.
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 08:19:51 PT
Oh my!
Don't miss this, she is only 15!
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 07:59:07 PT
How many here have seen this little lady shred?
Please check her out!After her performance I said to myself, I hope Jimmy Page is watching?
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 07:33:55 PT
"In a war.... gotta get dog mad! You gotta shoot everything you got at 'em and when you run out of bullits you throw rocks, you run out of rocks you fight with you teeth!"-The Outlaw Jose WhalesI speak in metaphores here of course. Those who know me know I do not advocate violence even though is not above or beneath our enemy to do so!What Jose says to me is, to win you gotta have heart!
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on February 21, 2010 at 06:23:26 PT
"Congressional meddling "
Can anyone calculate the amount of death, financial ruin and human suffering, not to mention frightening the poor pets!
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