Today, by a unanimous vote, the D.C. Council approved amendments to a medical marijuana law first passed in 1998 by 69 percent of District voters. Congress had blocked implementation of Initiative 59 for more than a decade, until it lifted its ban last year.
Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the bill, at which point Congress will have 30 days to review before it becomes law. Once that happens, the District of Columbia will join 14 states across the country in allowing qualified patients to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest.
This is a landmark victory for the nation’s capital and the potentially thousands of District residents who will benefit from safe and legal access to medical marijuana.
“It has taken nearly 12 years, but the District will at last have a law that recognizes the mounting scientific consensus that, for many conditions, marijuana can be safe and effective medicine,” MPP’s Karen O’Keefe said in a press release today.
Under the District’s law, physicians will be able to give medical marijuana recommendations to patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and other serious conditions that can be alleviated through marijuana. Qualified patients will have safe access to their medicine through a limited number of dispensaries within the District.
There’s much more to be said about this very exciting news. Stay tuned to MPP’s blog for updates.