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

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid