For DC, where marijuana as treatment recently became available for patients who suffer from a very limited menu of illnesses, that should not be a problem. The city's first three dispensaries finally opened earlier this summer, nearly 15 years after voters approved a 1998 referendum authorizing medical marijuana.It took another decade-and-a-half of congressional meddling and regulatory setbacks for that measure to finally become a reality, though. The Obama administration's first few years in office were marked by a more uneven approach toward legalized forms of marijuana. Although President Obama entered office saying his people would lay off medical use, the Drug Enforcement Administration continued to enforce federal drug laws against medical pot facilities throughout the nation. But Scott Morgan, the owner of Capital City Care on North Capitol St., is pleased to hear of the Justice Department's turn today. "The memo indicates that well-run programs will be respected and that's exactly what we have here in the District," he tells Washingtonian. "It's exciting news because it means we can keep moving forward and working together to make medical marijuana a success in the nation's capital." DC's medical marijuana regime is tightly controlled. Only patients who suffer from HIV or AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, or severe muscle spasms are eligible, and then only after showing a Department of Health form filled out by their physician, who must be licensed to practice in the District. As of July, only 110 of the city's roughly 9,500 doctors had shown interest in prescribing weed for their chronically ill patients. And despite Capital City Care's soothing décor, it also has a heavy security system, including biometric locks, motion detectors, and alarms, all of which are hard-wired to the Metropolitan Police Department. That sounds tough enough to satisfy the Justice Department's new tune.
Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement