The Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act of 2010 was revised and recommended for approval by the D.C. Council by the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary Tuesday morning, according to the committee report.
The legislation, which was introduced in January, would allow those with a chronic, painful and serious medical condition to acquire a physician’s prescription for medical marijuana. The original bill allowed for five dispensaries that would distribute medical marijuana; the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary amended the bill to allow the mayor to increase the number of dispensaries to eight, according to the report.
The committee also reduced the required minimum distance of a dispensary from a school or youth center from 1,000 feet to 300 feet.
Another amendment mandates that once a doctor recommends medical marijuana to 250 patients, that caregiver will be closely audited.
The bill calls for the creation of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, which would recommend by January 1, 2012 whether or not patients could grow their own marijuana in addition to keeping track of dispensaries and caregivers.
The bill also calls for the establishment of a system of registration and identification of patients authorized to use medical marijuana and prohibit those with drug-related criminal backgrounds from working in medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation sites.
The D.C. Council will vote on the legislation on April 20, and again in early May, according to Jason Shedlock, chief of staff for Councilmember Phil Mendelson, one of the sponsors of the bill. If the bill passes, it would then have to be signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty and would then go before Congress for a 30-day passive review period.
Use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is currently legal in 14 states. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana and originally had no limit on the number of dispensaries. This January, however, the Los Angeles City Council limited the number of sites in the city to 70, according to The Washington Post.
In Colorado, the number of patient applications for medical marijuana greatly increased when the limit on prescriptions per doctor was removed last summer.