Access to medical marijuana delayed

Editor’s note

D.C. residents seeking medical marijuana are unable to obtain a prescription in the city, despite the legalization of the drug last summer.

The Mayor’s office is responsible for establishing the regulations needed to ensure the legal distribution of the controversial drug, but difficulties in regulating the drug have caused delays in dispensaries being established.

Proposed rules for the cultivation and distribution of the drug are expected to take effect once they are published in the D.C. Register. Though this is expected to happen soon, there is no official date set at this time.

Medical marijuana became legal in the District July 27, 2010, after Congress’ allotted 30-day review period expired. If Congress does not touch a bill passed by the D.C. Council in that 30-day period, it automatically becomes law.

GW Hospital spokeswoman Heather Oldham said the hospital is unable to comment on whether or not it will be allowed to distribute medicinal marijuana.

Oldham said the hospital’s lawyers are still attempting to figure out what changes the hospital would need to make in order to accommodate the law.

D.C. hospitals will be able to distribute the drug if they submit a dispensary registration application and are approved, but only five dispensaries will be allowed. Oldham said the hospital would likely not qualify as a cultivation center due to difficulties in ensuring the security of the facility

GW Hospital physicians will be able to recommend marijuana treatment for patients who qualify.

A medical marijuana certification provider, according to proposed rules, must certify businesses or individuals who want to distribute medicinal marijuana.

Only D.C. residents will be able to obtain the drug here, so students who are not permanent residents of the District won’t be able to purchase marijuana from D.C. dispensaries, even if they have permission to obtain the drug in states that already allow the use of medicinal marijuana.

This article was updated on Jan.19, 2010 to reflect the following changes.
The original version of this article was removed as it contained falsified statements. The Hatchet deeply regrets this error.

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