The Road To Legalization: Will Congress Lay Down The Law?

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courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

The legalization of medical marijuana in DC continues to be an issue for those supporting the cause. According to the Washington Post, “Nine out of 13 council members are co-sponsoring the bill that would make the city the 15th jurisdiction in the country to offer the option to the chronically ill.”

There are two problems that need to find resolution before the District can take the fight for medical marijuana any further — logistics and Congress.

The amendment to Initiative 59 states that the legalization of medical marijuana in DC would require five dispensaries city-wide. Each dispensary would supply a months worth of marijuana to registered patients as prescribed by their respective physicians and insurance for dispensaries will also be made available.

But — no matter the logistical dilemmas or support weighing in on both the pro and con side of the bill — Congress will have the final word on the matter. WaPo says that advocates appear to be the most concerned about getting the bill passed and untouched by Congress.

This wouldn’t be the first time Congress put their foot down. Back in 1998, voters approved the initiative. It was Congress who blocked it.

Rachel moved to DC in the fall of 2005 to study Journalism and Music at American University. When she’s not keeping up with the latest Major League Baseball news, she works on making music as an accomplished singer-songwriter and was even a featured performer/speaker at TEDxDupont Circle in 2012. Rachel has also contributed to The Washington Examiner and MASN Sports’ Nationals Buzz as a guest blogger. See why she loves DC. E-Mail:

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10 thoughts on “The Road To Legalization: Will Congress Lay Down The Law?

  1. I suspect our Congress has the wisdom to steer clear of interference in the doctor-patient relationship over something as benign as marijuana. Marijuana arrests, prosecution, prison, and forced “treatment” costs the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars every year, billions that are therefore NOT available for schools, health care, repairing our roads and bridges, and a hundred other vitally important social needs.

    Surely no one believes that imprisoning Americans for using a plant is _really_ a better use of our limited resources than educating our children, maintaining our infrastructure, and keeping our families safe from foreign terrorists?

  2. If only congress would chong out they would realize that the herb is good for EVERYTHING. Until then they will base their decisions on all the myths that come with ganja. LEGALIZE!!!!!

  3. Our Congress has NO wisdom and can NEVER be counted on to represent the will of the people. The Majority of Americans now believe Marijuana should be legalized according to the past two National polls (Zogby and Angus Reid). Over 17,000 Mexicans have died within the past 3 years in Mexico from our FAILED drug laws the time for change is WAY overdue.

  4. I doubt Congress would get involved but I suspect when it comes out of everything, it will be much more strict than the Marijuana groups want

  5. It will go through. It would look like utter tyranny if the bill got shot down. There is a wealth of information at everyones finger tips to adequately be informed on this issue. A vote against this is a vote against their chance at ever running again.

    Iowa researched the topic for 4 months and everyone in the panel thought it should be moved to a schedule II position stating that it does medical value.

    The propaganda is no longer holding up to the wealth of information/studies available and the large percentage of the public that uses it.

  6. I sincerely hope Congress will see the light of reason and pass this compassionate law. There are those suffering needlessly in D.C. – indeed, around the nation – while a non-lethal plant lies forbidden in the ranks with heroin and LSD. Utter nonsense, this is…

    Additionally, I trust the Congress will have the intestinal fortitude to recognize as a unified body the necessity to lift the federal laws against cannabis and its derivatives so each sovereign state can follow suit and choose through popular vote whether or not to legalize cannabis.

  7. The author of this blog entry incorrectly states that Initiative 59 calls for 5 dispensaries. The bill that was transferred to Congress in December was the original Initiative 59, which does not mention the number of dispensaries. The amendments to Initiative 59 include the number. If you have a moment, and have never seen what a dispensary can look like, check out this Youtube video Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California: It’s considered the best dispensary in the United States.

    Also, the District Council should not be legislating out of fear of Congress. Congress can take medical marijuana away at any time. Thats the result of living under the tyranny of 535 unelected officials. Instead, the District Council should focus on helping patients and not the politicians who DC residents never elected.

  8. @RW Thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. The source I got this information from (The Washington Post) did not make the point (whether or not the number of dispensaries was originally included in Initiative 59)clear. I appreciate you pointing this out. The post will be updated in order to get the facts straight. Thanks!

  9. Everyone here seems to be missing the point that the only reason medical cannabis has come this far in DC is because Congress chose to repeal the Barr Amendment which is what has had I-59 stalled all this time. The Senate and the House actually had to vote in favor and have the President sign the bill in order to get here. It makes absolutely no sense that they would then choose to overturn what they have allowed, especially since no vote is required.

    BTW I-59 was transmitted to Congress on 12/21/2009 and it only requires 30 legislative days of inaction for it to formally become law, which should be early next month. Yes, whatever deviations the District Council adds in the amended bill will have to suffer another 30 legislative day review, but again, it makes no sense that Congress would allow I-59 as written, but then strike down a more restrictive bill.

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