Medical Marijuana in DC Step Closer to Reality

Is it a coincidence that 4/20 falls during Earth Week, when everyone is encouraged to "go green"? And is it a coincidence that the D.C. Council decided to unanimously pass a bill to decriminalize medical marijuana on 4/20?

Either way, cannabis for the chronically ill is another step closer to becoming legal in the nation's capital. Reports the Washington Post:

"Without debate, the council authorized five medical marijuana distribution centers throughout the city, a number that could grow to eight in coming years. A patient who has HIV, glaucoma, cancer or a "chronic and lasting disease" will be able to receive a doctor's recommendation to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana in a 30-day period."  

Medical marijuana patients would not be allowed to grow their own "treatments" under the bill, which must go through a second vote next month to get full approval. And while it seems like a sure win for those who want to legalize it, opposition to the D.C. legislation is actually coming from some medical marijuana advocates. One out of California, which allows medical marijuana, told the Post:

"I think the bill is deeply flawed, and I don't think it is going to achieve the purpose, which is protect patients," said Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, which distributes medical marijuana to about 40,000 patients in California. "The regulations may be setting up a system that drives patients back onto the streets."  

It will likely be months before we know the pitfalls of the D.C. medical marijuana program if it does get under way. But in the meantime, a new Associated Press/CNBC poll shows most Americans are OK with medical marijuana -- 60 percent support the idea of "going green" for seriously ill patients who need it. But only a third think it's OK to legalize pot for recreational use.

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