D.C. rules for medical pot program
District officials released regulations Friday that will govern the city's implementation of its medical marijuana program.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's (D) administration has been drafting regulations to license dispensaries, track doctors and users, and identify where to allow the wholesale production of marijuana. The rules would now undergo a public comment and review period, which could take months.
“All District residents deserve access to the full slate of medical treatments available,” Fenty said in a statement Friday. “My Administration will work to ensure that medical marijuana is dispensed safely and efficiently.”
According to the guidelines, qualifying patients must be city residents, must register with District government, and have a qualifying medical condition. The rules also impose fines and the prospect of criminal prosecution for patients who possess marijuana or paraphernalia not authorized by the program.
Caregivers should be at least 18 years of age, must register with the city and would face fines and prosecution if they operate outside the city's guidelines.
Physicians are required to be in good standing to practice in the city, must register with the District and have a legitimate doctor-patient relationship with program participants.
Those seeking permits to operate dispensaries must file a business proposal with the city that includes proposed location, staffing and security plans, and specify cultivation plans when applicable, among other rules.
The council approved the initiative in May, and under home rule, Congress had 30 legislative days to review it. The measure became law after Congress finished its business July 26 because the House and Senate declined to intervene. The law capped a years-long struggle to act on a 1998 referendum in which 69 percent of District residents voted in favor of medical marijuana. Until last year, Congress had blocked the city from enacting the referendum.
Read the rules here.
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