Medical marijuana legalized in the District

By By Charles Cook and Josh Samson, Staff Writers

The Washington D.C. Council approved a bill May 4 allowing people with chronic illnesses such as HIV, glaucoma and cancer to obtain up to four ounces of medical marijuana from public marijuana dispensaries in the District with a doctor’s prescription. Congress must vote within 30 days of the proposition on whether to legalize the dispensaries in the city.

According to an April 23 New York Times article, one issue with the bill is the placement of dispensaries. The number of dispensaries and locations could increase illegal drug dealing.

“Even though the illegal dealing of the drug will most likely rise from the dispensaries, I think it’s important that patients are able to get the treatments that their doctors recommend for their illness,” junior Alex Haffner said.

The D.C. legislation also created other restrictions.

According to an April 21 Washington Post article, the bill bans the use of prescribed marijuana outside of the patient’s residence or hospice—restrictions that most other prescribed medications don’t have.

Some students believe that marijuana should not be on the list of illegal substances, and consider the new bill a step towards complete marijuana legalization.

The new bill also attempts to end discrimination against people who use the drug for medical purposes. Cases have been brought up in the past where patients with prescribed marijuana were charged with possession.

Several trial-and-error methods have been used in states including California and Michigan, but D.C. could be the first place to regulate medical marijuana legally.