Congress Lifts Ban On D.C. Medical Marijuana Law

The U.S. Senate today passed historic legislation to end the decade-long ban on implementing a medical marijuana law in Washington, D.C. This marks the first time in history Congress has changed a marijuana law for the better. Only Obama’s signature is needed for the change to become law.
This is not only a huge victory for medical marijuana patients in the nation’s capital, it marks a historic shift on the medical marijuana issue nationwide. This is the first time Congress has given its assent to a state or local law that permits medical use of marijuana. Coming on top of the announcement that the Justice Department will no longer interfere with state medical marijuana laws, this shows that the ground has fundamentally shifted.
Before the D.C. law can go into effect, the city council will need to transmit the original 1998 initiative to Congress for a 30-day review period, which is not expected to present an obstacle. The law will take effect at the conclusion of this review, and the D.C. government will then be charged with creating regulations to govern the implementation of the initiative’s language.
It seems that Congress is finally listening to voters, who have supported protection for medical marijuana patients for well over a decade, as well as to the medical community’s growing recognition of marijuana’s medical value. Lifting the ban on D.C.’s law falls far short of sweeping, national reform, but it is surely a sign of good things to come.

The U.S. Senate today passed historic legislation to end the decade-long ban on implementing a medical marijuana law in Washington, D.C. This marks the first time in history Congress has changed a marijuana law for the better. Only Obama’s signature is needed for the change to become law.

This is not only a huge victory for medical marijuana patients in the nation’s capital, it marks a historic shift on the medical marijuana issue nationwide. This is the first time Congress has given its assent to a state or local law that permits medical use of marijuana. Coming on top of the announcement that the Justice Department will no longer interfere with state medical marijuana laws, this shows that the ground has fundamentally shifted.

Before the D.C. law can go into effect, the city council will need to transmit the original 1998 initiative to Congress for a 30-day review period, which is not expected to present an obstacle. The law will take effect at the conclusion of this review, and the D.C. government will then be charged with creating regulations to govern the implementation of the initiative’s language.

It seems that Congress is finally listening to voters, who have supported protection for medical marijuana patients for well over a decade, as well as to the medical community’s growing recognition of marijuana’s medical value. Lifting the ban on D.C.’s law falls far short of sweeping, national reform, but it is surely a sign of good things to come.

48 thoughts on “Congress Lifts Ban On D.C. Medical Marijuana Law”

  1. Obama and others in the Senate and Congress who support this get a nod and a thank you from me. Absolutely superb and beyond the smart thing to do.
    Bet anyone 100 dollars that the crime rate drops in D.C.
    And when Prohibition is over bet anyone 200 dollars that the crime rate falls like a rock due to its own weight.

    There is one other concern on my mind and that is the Federal stance on Medical Marijuana when it comes to being allowed on military bases. So darn curious right about this. Will these medical marijuana bills protect qualifying patients on military bases?

  2. “Prohibition… goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded” -Abraham Lincoln

  3. Does anyone think that Obama (administration) might be “using” this as a test of public reaction to signing pro-cannabis legislation into law?

  4. I think the true political agenda is home rule for the District. I-59 is just along for the ride. Just my opinion.

  5. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be involved with DC politics, and work against this law. It was passed by the citizens a decade ago, when prohibitionist propaganda was more widely accepted… it would pass by wider margin now. We also need to keep in mind the demographic…. and I would love to see numbers on the decline in anxiety, sleep and pain meds after it comes into law!

  6. imagine what this will do to the Hill. A decent share of those employees, and even congressmen and women, will soon often find themselves in the presence of someone smoking marijuana, or eating cookies….. they will not be able to treat us like potheads needing to be schooled on proper morality.

  7. i can’t wait until the first conservative gets pasted with some serious hydro, and gets happy on CSPAN. this is gonna be fun y’all

  8. Excellent point @9, “and I would love to see numbers on the decline in anxiety, sleep and pain meds after it comes into law”

    Stress is a huge part of most everyone’s life these days and doctor’s of every stripe seem to be on the bandwagon now that stress causes many diseases. At least that’s been my experience but, I’m allergic to 98% of pharmaceuticals and have to suffer needlessly. (well it’s not needless suffering to Prohibitionists, they don’t give a damn how much pain I’m in).

  9. I know this is going to happen soon for all, and I am about to donate for the first time. I had never donated to any political cause until Barack Obama; and I believe in this MORE than Obama. I use cannibus in a topical application that works like magic (God’s magic) on myself and many of my customers with chronic nerve pain.
    Shame on the people that would rather destroy our Country for profit; and if there is any doubt as to who those people are it is the Pharmacuiticals, and Insurance companies ( Wall Street).
    I encourage people to tell the truth about how they feel..come out of the closet I guess…
    Most of us have seen the damage done with prescription pain meds; and cannibus is the BEST alternative I have ever seen. I have been smoking it for 35 years and know the benefits of what I consider God’s medicine.
    We need a big push; not spending the next five years playing politics and fighting those same people that I mentioned above.

  10. After many decades we are finally making headway! Kudos to the MPP, NORML, and all of my colleagues in the movement who have tirelessly fought for the rights of the ill and those prosecuted for an unjust law. My best hope is that the rest of the country follows suit very soon.
    We must now be dilligent to protect the rights of individual small “farmer”, from the monopolization of this plant by large pharmaceutical corporations.

  11. I am seeing this as a way to test the political waters without anyone chancing their political carrers?

    Since they are only implementing the will of the voters no one can be help personally responsible.

    Thanks for the update BEN!

  12. Florida is also working on a Medical Cannabis initiative. PUFMM is in the process of collecting signatures around the state to get this on the 2010 state ballot. We need your support!.

    Visit: http://www.pufmm.org/ to download, print, and mail in your petition today!

  13. It is very interesting to see these historical events that are taking place. (like this article on Obama signing the bill for example)

    More pragmatical for me is having the oppurtunity to see a new MARKET being created. It is no coincidence that this has something to do with the crisis that happend just a few months ago. Even more interestingly to see is that the ones who benefit from this new economic source are the middle class! Look at this video: http://clipta.com/Marijuana_family_business__nMzAyNDg4

    The effect of this movement is even seen on the stock market, a penny stock in specific, named HESG. Ever since the CEO announced that they are getting into the medical marijuana business the stock went from almost zero trading volume to billions. Hell, there is even a facebook group on this stock. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?v=info&ref=ts&gid=182617226830

  14. I am shocked and sickened by this. So Friggin Senseless. It angers me to the core and makes me stand up for the changes happening to the policies of the Republican Party with all their money grubbing constituants that have made our country NOT FREE!!!! Thank God Obama was elected.

  15. Would we have to be DC citizens to be able to benefit from this law?

    I live just outside of DC and I frequently go there, and I’m curious if this law would apply to me as well.

  16. I too would like to see Obama signing this. I’d also like to hear what comments, if any, he makes regarding this.

  17. John #26, when I read I-59 I see no restrictions regarding residency. Of course you wouldn’t be protected outside of DC and carrying it across state lines would likely be a Federal offense. But it sure looks to me like the only people that need be DC Residents would be people who decide to supply cannabis to patients. I could be missing something, and if I’ve misunderstood will defer to minds brighter than mine.

    Here’s a link to the text of I-59 from the Washington Post archives:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dcelections/races/dcq59.htm

  18. It is amazing to me how many flag waving americans are rabidly against anyone exercising their rights as americans.

  19. Sad to see that #25 Jeff, how they caught this kid aged 23 basically commit suicide on tv. What an Idiot!!!, Even more so the cops. Do they not get tested for these situations??? 2 cops remember this people. two cops.

    Everyone know that weed is a dried plant, if you swallow it, esp. large quants, yes you will choke!!! esp. if you have 3 cops tasing you!!!! I feel like he was set up. Actually you know what, he was set up.

    Well for #1, MJ slows the brain waves down afew notches. In some cases, many notches. Hell when we declared independence, we could have been smoking the stuff way back when.

    But dont get it twisted, there are alot more important things thatn smoking GRADE A POT everyday. WWeedow anyone???

    So as an alternative we smoke cigarettes, aka tobacco. Which is A# brown, + and smoking something brown is a no-no. But smoking Green WEED is a YES-YES. or wewe, even si si……

    We are at the point in our lifetime to make choices. Very important ones at that. MJ is far safer than Beer+ tobaccy combined. + far safer than those other legal-illegal drugs. MJ is #1 drug in the world!!!! or smoked matter- be it that.

    Besides public transportation, buses, etc.

    Theirs really no other reason why MJ should not be legalized for those 18+up. Will you have kids smoking their senior year, showing off etc? Sure.

    Thats even more of a reason to have it legalized 4 every 1, so the youths in 9th-10-11 grade can witness for them selves. Who wants to listen to mom+dad anyway? What do they know rwight?

  20. MPP:

    Would this be something that DC will be going through each and every year (ie. fighting with Congress?) to keep the program going once it is implemented?

  21. All weed smoker around the nation should plant seeds on public common land. can you image what the situation would be if mj was every where free for the taking, no cost, no middle man, no profit, no taxes..

    We need a mj seed planting day, millions of plants coming up only weeks later, what a site. It would drive the control freaks crazy.

    ENJOY.

  22. We are one step closer. Please make Texas the next state for legalized medicinal marijuana. With the worlds largest Cancer Center here in Houston, MD Anderson, It is time to look at this closer and not build new jails, not let the crack smokers off, but to decriminalize marijuana instead of crack smokers! Texas has it all wrong!!!

  23. BTW, there was no vote. The DA decided one day that to lessen jail crowding in Texas, a crack pipe with resin in it will only issue a citation and not go to jail. If you have a roach on you, they take you to jail. I don’t understand why the majority approve. It’s because they were not given the right to choose how to fix jail overcrowding.

  24. Adios to the vicious Mexican growers in NorCal who have brought AK-47s, pesticides, and caused environmental havoc, including burning hundreds of thousands of acres of public forest with their grows. Hasta la vista, baby!

  25. DeathNole: I don’t think it will be, the issue this year was that the Barr Amendment was still in place but this year it was removed (at the behest of Bob Barr himself!) and I don’t foresee it really becoming an issue ever again (unless something goes terribly wrong with the way DC implements the law).

    John #26, Duncan #31 is right, the only part of the law which says anything about having to be a resident to be protected is this part pertaining to collective cultivation and distribution:

    “Sec. 7 Residents of the District of Columbia may organize and operate not-for-profit corporations for the purpose of cultivating, purchasing, and distributing marijuana exclusively for the medical use of medical patients who are authorized by this act to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.”

    So while you may not be able to be a member of any collective or dispensary, you will still be protected from prosecution if you are merely possessing/cultivating it in DC, with a Doctor’s recommendation of course.

  26. what was up with that christ almighty guy! yeah yeah we’re all going to hell for smoking a plant that god put here i would imagine. but preacher boy where are you going for touching those little alter boys? lol.

  27. We are all now ‘residents’ of federal regional districts and subjects of the United States Congress sitting in Washington DC is the current scheme of things. Everyone should look at the their drivers license and bank statements, etc. All of our documents contain the Zip Code and the State as a regional area. For instance, Georgia is correctly abbreviated as Ga. and California as Calif. All are treated with “equal” “civil” “rights”. So, in answer to the question, yes, an individual could claim exemption from prosecution outside of the District of Columbia. But, finding a lawyer that is willing to help out there in ‘probation land’ will probably be impossible. A step by step information guide will need to be published and available for each patient. The MPP should begin the work of doing this. I do have expertise on this subject and am available for consultations. But no one ever seems to call. What’s up with that?

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