Washington, DC: Regulations have been finalized to allow for the sanctioned-use and dispensing of medical cannabis in the state of Arizona and in the District of Columbia.
In Arizona, representatives from the Department of Health Services have approved rules governing the state's soon-to-be-implemented Arizona Medical Marijuana Program. Voters directed the state to approve regulations regarding the use and distribution of medicinal cannabis this past November when they decided in favor of Proposition 203. Program rules, physician certification forms, and answers to frequently asked questions are now available online from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Arizona patients may begin qualifying for the program this week, and dispensary applications will be accepted beginning on June 1. All patients initially approved by the state will have the option to cultivate their own marijuana. However, patients who reside within 25 miles of a state-licensed dispensary will lose this option once such facilities are up and running later this fall.
In the District of Columbia, city leaders have signed off on long-awaited rules regulating patients' use and access to cannabis. Those rules are expected to take effect April 15. The newly finalized regulations will permit D.C. officials to allow as many as ten cultivation centers and five dispensaries in the District. Permit applications are anticipated to be available by April 17.
The forthcoming rules implement facets of I-59, the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative, a 1998 municipal ballot measure which garnered 69 percent of the vote yet was never implemented. Under the new regulations, qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at licensed dispensaries, but the personal cultivation of marijuana at home will not be permitted.
Washington DC's forthcoming program is limited to residents of the District of Columbia and is not reflective of any broader change in federal policy.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have authorized the physician-supervised use of cannabis since 1996.
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