DC Medical Marijuana Program:
The Legalization of Medical Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010, the Mayor’s Order Establishing the District of Columbia Medical Marijuana Program, and the Final Rulemaking: District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 22-C Medical Marijuana, establish a regulated medical marijuana program in the Nations Capital.
Brief Overview of Laws:
-Initiative 59 passed in 1999 with 69% voter support, creating the first medical marijuana law in the District of Columbia. The Barr Amendment was attached to a District rider initially preventing the counting of the votes, as well as the implementation of the law. The Barr Amendment was removed in the fall of 2009, leading the immediate submission for Congressional Review clearing early in 2010. The DC City Council placed and immediate moratorium on Initiative 59, until it could be amended to reflect changes in known practices and policy.
-The Legalization of Medical Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010 amended Initiative 59, upon clearing US Congressional review in 2010, it established the current District of Columbia medical marijuana program law.
-Mayor’s Order Establishing the District of Columbia Medical Marijuana Program was an executive order from the Mayors office establishing the roles and responsibilities of the District agencies responsible with overseeing the District medical marijuana program.
-Final Rulemaking: District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 22-C Medical Marijuana, establishes the regulations regarding the initial operation of the program under the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), including requirements for patients and caregivers registration, protocols for involvement in the program, Physician requirements, and the regulations for the business operations of the cities licensed Dispensaries and Cultivation Centers.
The District of Columbia medical marijuana program is the tightest regulated program in the United States, reflecting the concerns of patients and caregivers, community activists, patient healthcare providers, as well as District and Federal officials concerned with potential conflicts or abuses. Due to the limited geography of the District of Columbia, the need to prevent transportation of medicine across state lines or consumption of medicine on Federal lands, are some of many legal concerns in the District.
Although Medical Marijuana is legal in the District when acting in compliance with the local law, it still remains illegal under Federal law and does not provide legal protections to patients or caregivers from Federal enforcement actions.
What is the Medical Marijuana Program?:
The DC medical marijuana program was created to ensure that patients who suffer from a medical condition, for which their physician recommends the therapeutic use of marijuana, providing patients a safe legal and regulated method for acquiring medicine, as well as offering basic protections from prosecution under District law. The law only protected DC residents who suffer from a qualifying medical condition, receive a recommendation from their primary care physician, register with the DC Department of Health, and comply with all protocols established in Subtitle 22-C of the DCMR.
Patients may select a single caregiver, who must also register with the DC Dept. of Health, who may assist in the purchasing an administering of medicine to the patient.
Patients and Caregivers will be allowed to select a single dispensary from which to purchase all medicine. Patients and caregivers will be have safe regulated access to medicine in a familiar setting resembling a pharmacy from a professional, knowledgable, and courteous staff, providing otherwise unattainable medicine to patients in need.
Patients may only medicate in their own residence, if allowed, or at a medical facility while undergoing treatment, if allowed.
Qualifying Medical Conditions:
- Conditions characterized by severe and persistent muscle spasm, such as Multiple Sclerosis.
- Conditions determined through rulemaking (DC Dept. of Health) that are: debilitating, chronic or long-lasting, and for which there is scientific evidence that medical marijuana is less addictive or more effective than ordinary treatment.
Qualifications for Registration:
(Subtitle 22-c Chapter 5)
To qualify for a patient registration identification card, an applicant shall:
(a) Be a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia at the time of application and remain a bona fide resident during treatment with medical marijuana;
(b) Have a qualifying medical condition or be undergoing a qualifying medical treatment;
(c) Have a signed, written physician’s recommendation for the use of medical marijuana meeting the requirements of this chapter; and
(d) If the qualifying patient is a minor, the signed written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian.
District law protects patients who receive a recommendation from their primary care physician for the therapeutic use of marijuana for treatment of a qualifying medical condition.
A recommendation is not a prescription. A physicians recommendation for the therapeutic use of marijuana by their patients is protected free speech, upheld by the US Supreme Court in Connant v. McCaffrey and Connant v. Walters.
- Discuss, fully and candidly, the risks and benefits of medical marijuana with patients.
- Recommend (or Approve, Endorse, Suggest, or Advise, etc.), in accordance with their medical judgment, marijuana for patient use.
- Record in their patients’ charts discussions about and recommendations of medical marijuana.
- Sign a government form or otherwise inform state or local officials that they have recommended medical marijuana for particular patients.
- Testify in court or through written declaration about recommending medical marijuana for a certain patient.
- Educate themselves about the medical benefits of marijuana, its various clinical applications, and different routes of ingestion.
- Prescribe medical marijuana. This includes writing a recommendation on an Rx form.
- Assist patients in obtaining marijuana.
- Cultivate or possess marijuana for patient use.
- Physically assist patients in using marijuana.
- Recommend marijuana without a justifiable medical cause.
DC Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program Website
All questions must be given in written form:
Interested parties may send inquiries by email to email@example.com
by regular mail to:
Medical Marijuana Program
Health Regulation and Licensing Administration
899 N. Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
The DC Medical Marijuana Laws:
- Initiative 59- 1998, Legalization of Medical Marijuana for Medical Treatment
- Legalization of Medical Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010
- Mayor’s Order Establishing District of Columbia Medical Marijuana Program
- Fourth Proposed Rulemaking(Current Regulations)
- List of Qualifying Conditions
Testimony of Dr. Vigilance, (former) Director of DC Dept. of Health regarding DC Medical Marijuana Law: