Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B
Recommendation on Proposed Medical Marijuana Regulations
Adopted on August 31, 2010 in a unanimous show-of-hands vote
Title 22 of the DCMR, which would provide detailed regulations for medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries. We believe that these regulations will protect the public from the abuses experienced in other states while providing patients in need with medical marijuana.
We propose that these regulations be amended to give the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) the sole responsibility for enforcing all of these regulations for the following reasons:
* Medical marijuana is a new industry in our city and dividing responsibilities between two agencies increases the potential for error. Medical marijuana is a drug. DOH currently regulates and supervises pharmacists and pharmacies where drugs with the potential for abuse are sold. DOH has staff with the appropriate professional backgrounds.
* Medical marijuana is a drug to be used by sick people, not a recreational drug like alcohol. Therefore, putting the agency that regulates the sale of alcohol in charge of medical marijuana sends the wrong message to the public.
* Medical marijuana is a new and controversial D.C. program that needs the full confidence of the community, particularly in the location of dispensaries and cultivation centers. Communities need to know that ANCs will have genuine "great weight," as the law promises, with respect to these licenses and their location.
Additionally, we recommend that ANCs have veto power, rather than "great weight" over the licensing of a cultivation center or a dispensary within their Commission boundaries.
The selection of medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers should be based on merit, and not on "first come, first served."
We recommend that the retail component of this law be revisited to put the dispensing of medical marijuana in a medical facility.
We also endorse the provisions that initial licenses for both cultivation centers and dispensaries be issued for only one year, with annual renewal required, which will give communities and regulators an opportunity to correct problems quickly and evaluate performance. License renewals should be predicated on correcting the cited problems, if any.
In addition, several community representatives, including at least two Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, plus a qualifying patient and a doctor with expertise in the use of medical marijuana, should be added to all boards and panels overseeing medical marijuana.
We submit these recommendations as per D.C. Code Section 1-309.10(a) and
related provisions. This law requires that D.C. government bodies, including the D.C. City Council and the Mayor, among others, place "great weight" on these recommendations and respond to them in a timely manner.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B designates every Commissioner to speak or write on this resolution as it affects his or her constituents, as long as his or her statements include a copy of this resolution.