The medical marijuana movement in the District of Columbia passed a major milestone of its gestation on Sunday when The Department of Health finished accepting 82 applications to cultivate and dispense MM inside the beltway. The July 17th deadline, however, arrived four days after The Department of Justice sent a letter to U.S. attorneys specifically to remind them that local medicinal laws don’t supersede the federal illegality of cannabis.
This baby has taken a long time to be born. The gleam in its father’s eye was the time in 1998 when almost 70% of D.C. voters pulled the lever to approve MM in the District. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) succeeded in squashing the initiative, but later came around, and the ban was lifted in 2009.
Now the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is conceivably possible in D.C., but it’s still in the fetal stage. The people who live in the District want it, and people from outside want to help grow and dispense it, but the laws inside D.C. have to be approved by Congress, and the federal government has never been the friend of MM. It’s a little like watching a mother wildebeest giving birth on a nature show while a pack of slavering hyenas gather around. You’re rooting for the baby, but the little guy’s got some long odds to beat from the start. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and some of the other wildebeest are making a protective circle around this calf legislation, but the Fed’s hyenas may prove too numerous. Let’s hope this baby learns to get up and run before they close in.
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