Congress allows DC to implement 1998 medical marijuana law

House and Senate negotiations for the 2010 Appropriations bill have been completed. This is the huge federal budget bill and it just so happens that Washington DC is a federal district and its spending is controlled by Congress.
In 1998, DC passed a medical marijuana bill overwhelmingly, but Congressional drug warriors led by Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia prevented DC from spending any federal money to count the votes (that’s right, in our democracy’s capital, our leaders conspired to prevent citizens from counting votes in a legal election). When that was deemed unconstitutional, they spent the money to count the votes, showing that 69% of DC supported medical marijuana. So Rep. Barr created the “Barr Amendment” that prevented DC from spending any money to implement the medical marijuana program they had voted in.
Well, today’s 2010 Appropriations bill changes all that. In addition to removing bans on abortion, domestic partnerships, and needle exchange, Congress has given the go-ahead to begin implementing DC medical marijuana!

(US Senate) Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia: Eliminates a prohibition on the use of local tax funds for abortion, thereby putting the District in the same position as the 50 states. Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District authorities, and discontinues a ban on the use of funds in the bill for domestic partnership registration and benefits.

DC’s medical marijuana bill was written with the same sort of open language as was passed in California… will we be seeing marijuana dispensaries on K Street anytime soon?

0 thoughts

  1. “Barr would later reverse his position on medical marijuana, joining MPP as a lobbyist five years later. In a June 4, 2008 interview with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report, Barr confirmed that he now supports ending marijuana prohibition, as well as the War on Drugs for which he once vehemently fought.”
    [Editor’s note: As Bob Barr is a lobbyist for hire, one wonders how much was he paid to change his position?]

  2. the government doesn’t care about the rights of it’s citizens. They’d rather see states like Florida become huge pill mill states, and see thousands overdose on prescription drugs.. just watch the “oxycontin express”
    None have overdosed on cannabis as we all know.
    It is quite horrifying to see the damage done by these prescription drugs, and at the same time cannabis is still considered the devils weed and people and patients have no rights or ability to get this product in a SAFE manner. Thus creates the black market which instantly spawns a thousand of other abuses. We need a controlled and regulated market stop the insanity.

  3. Dear Norml, this is fantastic…
    you tout the numbers for states who have passed medical marijuana & decriminalized possession.
    Don’t know if anyone has pointed this out, but in 2010 there NO LESS than FOUR states (Rhode Island, Mass, Cali and Wash) that have pending legislation for full regulation/taxation/legalization. FOUR STATES. The only question is: who will get there first?!

  4. Thats awesome. Federal policy change? The whole country should now be covered. We could only hope. I am sure it doesn’t work like that.

  5. An absolutely incredible step. Congress (kinda) taking a stance on weed (in their own back yard). Hopefully not much longer to wait for medical MJ in MD? Then not much farther til weed crabcakes.

  6. number 47 i looked into this guy he headed a substance abuse program i wouldn’t count on him to be kind in any decision concerning marijuana but thats what you get from somebody that made money off human suffering we all know reefer madness was 100% true

  7. once upon a time, we shipped men all over the world to fight Nazis, i say we start fighting them in our on backyards

  8. I hope those who are angry with Mr. Barr realize that it was his lobbying for MPP that was instrumental in getting the Barr amendment repealed.
    Some people really do change.
    [Editor’s note: Barr was not instrumental in ending the terrible and liberty-destroying Amendment that he birthed. In fact the people of DC and the City Council never supported the Barr Amendment…so his lobbying against something no one in DC supported had little to no effect. What in fact changed was the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic president in 2008. Otherwise, there would absolutely still be a Barr Amendment on the books.
    The hiring of Barr is inconsequential to the political changes underway re cannabis in America. Many in cannabis policy law reform would like to know how much Barr has been paid for his conversion, and just how genuine is his conversion from a long career as an oppressive prosecutor and legislator to liberating Libertarian? Is Barr a genuine lover of freedom or of money and public attention?]

  9. Just wondering.. its alright to drink alcohol (which is more addictive and damaging) but its illegal to toke weather its beneficial or not..

  10. Congrats D.C. from a person who was called to jury duty last week in Georgia to try a man for misdemeanor marijuana possession. And I though we were in a recession. What a waste of tax payers time and money…

  11. In addition to removing bans on abortion, domestic partnerships, and needle exchange, Congress has given the go-ahead to begin implementing DC medical marijuana!
    I do not think it is wise to lump cannabis in with abortion, domestic partnerships and needle exchange. The prohibitionists are usually the same people who are against abortion, domestic partnerships and needle exchange. Keep cannabis seperate and don’t antagonize the devil.

  12. Can’t wait to see all those congressmen lining up to get their cert to buy Cannabis for themselves.
    Thats just great, congress needs to smoke cannabis but it looks like they will enjoy our liberty to do so long long before the citizen get too.
    I just want to thank Congress for continuing with the Constructive Fraud, for their willingness to continue the lies about cannabis while they enjoy their liberty to smoke cannabis while sending others to prison and jail for same said liberty. Only in America can we act so dam backwards.
    I have no respect for this Government, they have not earned it and they continue to demostrate why. It looks like they will never gain respect with these Jim Crow Laws still on the law books.

    Force change of the Cannabis Laws in America
    Remember: The POWER is IN the PEOPLE, and we may show our power through Jury Nullification and Jury Lawlessness when Congress and the Excutive Braches fail to hear the people’s voice.
    It the South and the KKK can use it to set free murders we can use it to free cannabis users from the unjust law.

  14. In response to # 12’s idea to tax cannabis prisoners retroactively; that would be a post ex facto application of the law, and is illegal. Cannabis is currently an untaxed commodity. If a law were passed legalizing and taxing cannabis tomorrow, cannabis would be a taxable commodity as soon as the law took effect. At that point, you would be able to prosecute unlicensed dealers for tax evasion. However, you can’t prosecute people for tax evasion if they sold before cannabis became a taxable commodity. If you undertake an action while there is no law governing that activity, you can’t be held liable under laws which may be written later to regulate that activity. It’s simply illegal.

  15. I think this is big news.. Representatives will come from states that don’t have mmj and will have it in their faces in DC. This might affect their personal opinions once they see what it really means.

  16. There was a time in this country when there was no illegal drug use. Individual citizens and American society as a whole were much better off then than now. Currently we are forced to live in a police state, courtesy of the “war on drugs.” This could have all been avoided if those elected simply upheld and defended the Constitution, like they swore to do when they took office. But that would mean politicians did not lie, something obviously beyond their capability.

  17. I am all for the legalization of MMJ at the Federal level, but not at the expense of innocent children. I beleive in medical and/or ritualistic Marijuana, but I dont beleive in abortion.

  18. Medical marijuana funding and abortion funding need to be totally seperated. I vote yes on funding MMJ but no on funding abortion.

  19. Past sellers of mj are, however, required to pay income tax on income derived from selling mj. The income tax laws apply to income from whatever source, whether legal or illegal.
    That seems like a moot point, however. A person in prison _probably_ has access to relatively little money. The net effect of the buy-your-way-out plan would likely be that big-time dealers might have enough money in the bank to make the deal, while the poorer folks who got busted by some number-happy prosecutor would continue to rot in jail for a couple of ounces.
    The socioeconomic and racial disparity would likely be enormous. How about we just pardon everyone busted for simple possession of less than some limited amount and also those charged with growing less than some number of plants. Anybody on board for that?

  20. Wow, I am personally not a Barr fan (but I am a libertarian) but man the hypocrisy of NORML editors just never ceases to amaze me. Barr has legitimately apologized for his neo-con positions. He is now an avid supporter of Marijuana reform and does a lot of work to change people positions. I will personally never vote for him for anything because although I can FORGIVE his past, he is not a viable candidate for that. But, unlike NORML, I welcome EVERYONE who sees the light, apologizes for past ideologies, and now will work with us to facilitate change.
    NORML editors are hypocrites because they were so quick to praise Obomba and forgive (or ignore) his outrageous laughter at the idea of legalization. NORML, don’t you want people to join the cause? Sure, don’t ignore what Barr has done in his past to hurt the cause, but why so cynical and why not embrace the fact that he has changed his opinion. It would actually make your case stronger. No, you are in the game of politics even though you claim not to be. Good luck with that.
    [Editor’s note: The pain and suffering caused by Bob Barr is not easily forgiven, especially if his conversion is fueled by money.
    While NORML is non-partisan, and chides the president (and his employees) far more than praise his cannabis-related policies, but at least it can be said that while the man has the reins of power in his hands, he has affected more positive changes regarding the federal government’s cannabis policies than any previous president since Carter. What did Mr. Barr do when he was in power? He sought to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate cannabis consumers by the hundreds of thousands annually. From NORML’s point of view, former uber-drug warrior Bob Barr will have to show considerably more contrition for his actions as an anti-cannabis prosecutor and Congressman, and not while being induced with easy lobbying money.]

  21. This is absolutely amazing!!! It’s 2009 and it’s about time that they start reforming laws to fit the times.

  22. What wonderful news! Democracy finally rules in DC! What a great Christmas gift, the mental picture of medical marijuana dispensaries on K Street…
    But in our joy that Congress has, eleven years-late, finally seen their way to allow the DC voters to decide for themselves, please do not forget the many people hurt over the years by the Barr Amendment, people like Jonathan Magbie, the wheelchair-bound paraplegic who died in October just seven years ago in Washington DC while serving a ten-sentence for possessing one single lousy joint!

  23. Isn’t it interesting that Obama himself will have to eventually sign this bill? Don’t you think this will have some effect on his view towards cannabis related issues? Imagine him taking a walk to his favourite diner, passing by a despensary, and being stopped by a medical medical marijuana patient who is in tears. She thanks him for this gracious act of compassion and goes about her day. Tell me he won’t be affected by that.

  24. MMJ will open the door to tolerance from society, so it’s always a good thing. Remember, though, that it’s full legalization that we need.
    We need to expose marijuana much more to society if you want to see it legal. Organize more activities like Seattle’s Hempfest in more cities, especially in marijuana-tolerant ones. Once we draw enough people, change can start from the bottom-up.
    Just my two cents.

  25. we have come a long way,but we got a long way to go. its just a matter of time. and the enemy knows this.
    patiance friends 😉

  26. This is hugely awesome ! Finally now democracy in the heart of the US of A. And this mmj law is basically the same as Cali’s, where their are no required medical qualifications, just a doctors recommendation ? let freedom ring ! o and bob barr, i will never forgive you.

  27. Conner: Obama won’t be at all, never in a gazillion years be affected by that scenario of yours.
    Sorry but all the documented/recorded condescending statements from the fearless leader regarding cannabis legalization is contrary to someone who has compassion for people requiring medical cannabis.

  28. Lt. Curtis Spiers, commander of the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County, missishitpee = Dick Head Nazi

  29. The Dawn Of Man
    Many years ago there was a release of magnicent amounts of energy in what we call the vacume of space.This relese of energy is often reffered to as the “Big Bang Theory”,I am not a pyhsasist so I dont agree with all of the scientic data.To me this was not “accidental” ,but was a devine creation of all the heaven and earth.In short it was the creation of all man knows.At that moment all that was meant to be came into motion not as coincidence but as God designated it to be.This tremendous creation created all atoms which are the building blocks of all molecules found in the universe today.The Bible states that god created all plants and that includes the Cannibis plant,therefore banning this plant or saying it is illegal is rediculous, it also is a persecution of ones religous freedoms.I will not dable into religion to much further than that but that is my basic vision of it all,how can man make a creation of god “illegal’?Please have the ability to see thru what society has programed you to believe.The Native Americans have plants that they can legally use for religous purposes,so why is it that any natural plant not be allowed for use to help bring one closer to there god whatever their personal beliefs might be!The goverments of the world protect animals from extinction but there are plants that the would would completely eradicate without any concern like they were trash,if God didnt want these plants he wouldnt have created them.I for one am tired of being told what to do by a clearly corrupt goverment that pisses away our hard earned money to satisfy their parties agendas.If this is still a country that protects ones religous beliefs then we must be allowed to consume Gods creation in any way we see fit.

  30. Some are reporting 1998 law will go before council to be enacted.Others say there will be a new public referendum.anyone know the actual facts?

  31. Looks like I gotta eat part of my words from post #35. Just saw this story on AOL….lets see how long it stays up and what kinda storie follow to see if I have to eat all of that post.

  32. Even the ONE man that was responsible for prohibition begged, cried, and pleaded for relief of his pain while he was dying from cancer. The doctor told him the only medicine that could help him is unattainable, Harry Anslinger who was only able to get morphine to ease the pain of his prostate cancer ask the doctor to help him, they told him he is the reason he couldn’t be helped.
    As Anslinger realize what he did, he soon discovered that he was the most hated person in the history of the USA in those times.
    People would come to the hospital and his house just to laugh to his face and mock him. Some spit on him, some would light up a joint in his view and he would be too weak to do anything about it. Here is a wildly unknown Fact to many, Harry Anslinger is today responsible for claiming more American lives than the Vietnam war, but on his own soil, that’s the sad part. Let’s support John Wilson before he is Anslingers’ next victim.

  33. #81 Give Me Liberty’s comments gave me the shits and giggles which is certainly more justifiable then #81’s complete disregard for the pain and suffering that Barr has cause terminally ill Americans over the years by his acts of evil!
    Ultimately Bob Barr is accountable for our tribe members currently being incarcerated accross the United States. His actions in the passed gives him ownership of all cannabis prohibition in the 20th and 21st century.
    He’s a soft political hasbeen and lackey who wants NO forgiveness for his evil actions of the passed. If this man were seriously into gaining our tribes forgiveness he’d become actively involved in getting us out of jails and prisions.

  34. did anyone besides me watch the show on growing weed in cal?i wish i could grow plants like that in mass.i would be real happy.

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