News / USA

    Medical Marijuana Legal in US Capital

    Medical Marijuana Legal in Nation's Capitali
    X
    October 24, 2013 4:33 PM
    Many consider medical marijuana to be one of the most contentious debates in health care today. Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana to help alleviate side effects from a number of diseases and medications. But federal law still defines it as having no medical value and being as addictive as heroin. The Medical Marijuana Program in the nation's capital took 12 years to legalize and more than three years to implement. But though it's now up and running, VOA's Tala Hadavi tells us only a small number of people have signed on.
    Tala Hadavi
    Many consider medical marijuana to be one of the most contentious debates in health care today.  Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana to help alleviate side effects from a number of diseases and medications.  But federal law still defines it as having no medical value and being as addictive as heroin.  

    The Medical Marijuana Program in the nation's capital took 12 years to legalize and more than three years to implement.  But though it's now up and running,

    Adam Bartley is on his way to pick up his medicine. After years of being forced to the black market, now he can do it safely and legally. “When I or any of the other patients call and make an appointment, their security greets me at the door and checks the ID’s.  Both my regular government-issued ID and the ID from the department of health for the medical marijuana,” he explains. 

    Jeff Kahn owns this dispensary, which just opened after three years of competing for one of the city’s four dispensary permits.  There's been little business so far, but Kahn is not discouraged.  For him, this is a mission. “We want people to know what they’re getting, to be able to make wise choices," he said. "To be able to choose the right medicine and to be able to use it safely.”  

    “I have been HIV positive for 23 years and lived with AIDS for many of those.  I’ve taken a great deal of medicine.  Many of them cause a great deal of stomach discomfort, and lack of appetite and nausea," Bartley said.

    While medical marijuana is legal here in Washington, it’s still illegal under federal law, so the city is being very careful.

    “Every part of the medical marijuana program is under camera, under lock and key and fully recorded from seed to sale,” Kahn stated.

    And for potential customers, getting a Medical marijuana ID is not simple.  

    "It requires that you contact the department of health only by e-mail.  It requires that you would be able to download, print and fill out a lengthy application and provide documentation and a passport photo.  There’s a $100 application fee,” Bartley explained.

    But before any of that you have to have cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma or severe muscle spasms to even qualify.  And a doctor has to fill out another lengthy form, recommending you.  Sakiliba Mines is one of the few doctors in the city who write recommendations.  But she says she was initially cautious. “We cannot reproduce what’s going on in other states where doctors all they do is write recommendations and the patient is out of the door for the year," she added. "I don’t think that’s good medicine.”

    Dr. Robert DuPont has advised several administrations on the issue.  He said it would make more sense to refine marijuana into medication instead of smoking it.  But he is fine with the way the city is handling its program.

    “I think a limited program that insures that people are really ill and that they’ve tried other treatments and it gives them an amount of marijuana that is reasonable for them to have and not sell to other people or give away is a very good political resolution,” said DuPont.

    Right now, only 28 patients have qualified for the program, and that’s not really enough to support the system yet.  

    Today’s dose, 10.5 grams, costs about $200.  And none of it is covered by insurance.  But Bartley is happy to support the local economy -- and get his marijuana through legal means.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nichoals D'Ercole from: Scottsdale Arizona
    October 29, 2013 6:33 AM
    "Today’s dose, 10.5 grams, costs about $200." Wow sounds like he's getting pretty ripped off if you ask me or anyone else for that matter of fact...LOL

    by: Timothy Clark from: United States
    October 27, 2013 10:21 PM
    Tell Mr Kahn to contact me. His neighbor in Baltimore is interested in moving forward in assisting patients here when the law passes

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora