April 17, 2011

How to Help Medical Marijuana in Washington DC

April 17, 2011
marijuana enforcement

washington dc medical marijuanaHelp Medical Marijuana In Washington D.C.

Received this from Americans for Safe Access DC Chapter. DC is a very significant battleground due to it’s federal jurisdiction. If you are in the DC area, get active:

Just some friendly updates for the month of April. We have a lot to be proud of as a Chapter, great job lots of work ahead!

Upcoming Events:

Safe Access DC Meet Up to review new published regulations.
Tues April 19th, 2011 – 630pm
ASA National Office (location might be updated depending on space concerns?)
1806 Vernon st NW

SADC Action Planning for May 2nd Action at Justice Department
Thurs April 21st, 2011 – Details coming
DC Chapter Action Planning for protest at US Justice Dept. in solidarity with patients across country standing in solidarity for safe access to medicine. Network and planning meeting for upcoming event on May 2nd.

ASA National Day of Action -Solidarity with Medical Marijuana Patients / Rally at US Justice Dept.
Mon May 2nd, 12pm
Support Patients and Dispensaries across the country, stand in solidarity in front of US Dept of Justice. Rally for patient protection and an end to dispensary raids!
Last month 26 warrants in 48hrs.

Safe Access DC Meeting
Tues May 10th, 8pm
1806 Vernon st NW (location may change to expand space for larger attendance)
Open Community Meeting

April Quick News Update:

April 6th, 2011 – Press Conference
-DC Mayor Vincent Gray announced the upcoming signing and submission of updated emergency regulations for the District medical marijuana program.Press conference announces ergs will be summated to DC Register April 15th, monday April 17th DCDOH will begin soliciting applications for (5) dispensaries and (10)cultivation centers. 8 minute press conference Mayor Gray announces program, clarifies need to immediately act with changes to regs (ex removal of abra resting all licensing with DCDOH), and features q&a with DR Akhter, head of DC Dept of health, that clarifies department in process of clarifying qualifying conditions.

There is promise in Dr Akhter’s answer, where as he definitively states the DOH will respect doctors bona fide relationship with patients and will admit patients who demonstrate clinical need for the medical of cannabis. Dr Akhter has been a continuous advocate for patients rights and access to medical cannabis, we are excited and hope the DC Dept of Health works with the patient community to protect all who apply with legitimate medical necessity under the care and supervision of their

April 14th, 2011 – Third Proposed Rulemaking submitted to DC Register
-Regulations for the District Medical Marijuana Program published and are in effect.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray signed and submitted under the emergency rulemaking procedure the Third Proposed Rulemaking, the regulations that establish the functional framework to begin operation of the DC Medical Marijuana Program.

The regulations were submitted under the emergency rulemaking procedure, thereby becoming immediately effective for 120 days, or until final rulemaking is submitted to the DC Register.

Third Proposed Rulemaking:

Potential Cultivation Centers and Dispensaries will have until Fri June 17th, 4pm to fie application with Dept of Health.

Upon selection of initial cultivation center and dispensary, DC DOH will most likely release timeline for accepting patient applications for enrollment in medical marijuana program. It is expected that with DC DOH will formally issue guidelines to all doctors licensed to practice medicine in DC, issuing criteria for patient enrollment (qualifying conditions and extent that medical necessity may play for conditions not currently listed). as well as clarification to doctors of their legal rights to recommend medical marijuana to patients.

Release of Regs SIGNIFICANT point in process for launch of District Medical Marijuana Program! The framework is set up for patients to soon have safe access to potentially life saving therapeutic treatment!

Patients should immediately contact their Doctors and begin conversation, receive their recommendation leading up to DC DOH opening of enrollment. Doctors can make patient recommendations today, they have the legal right to do so. Patients with current recommendations will be able to quickly join the District program when it launches later this year.

Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee:
-Form SADC Chapter response to composition of Advisory Committee, advocate for strong representation from the patient community. Current committee composition (5) members, likely rep from: DC Attorney Generals Office, MPD, DC DOH, DC Mayors Office, and Patient Advocate.

Committee will have major influence regarding future of District program, will issue recommendations for patient cultivation, expansion of number of dispensaries, and other needs facing the district patients during the operation of the medical marijuana program.

Patient Outreach:

We need full chapter support to help spread the informed message that safe access to medical cannabis is coming to patients in Washington DC! We are hoping the Chapter can host a number of information sessions in the upcoming months leading up to the opening of patient enrollment.

-Expand and continue outreach efforts with HIV/AIDS Care providers.
DC has highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in country, largest percentage African American females. Any efforts to spread awareness and need for testing in addition to information regarding potential treatment under the DC program will be beneficial to patients. Our efforts can assist with awareness and treatment.

Others jurisdictions with medical marijuana laws have found that the program is successful in targeting communities who otherwise might not get tested or seek treatment.

Great success with previous outreach at Max Robinson Center (Whitman Walker Clinic), schedule more events. Network with patients and care providers to set up future events. Great feedback and response from large section of service providers contacted, we have many allies across the District, existing framework currently providing information on the safe medicinal use of cannabis for medical treatment.

-Prepare for AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington DC, international conference bringing leaders, organizers, healthcare professionals, and innovative minds who seek to offer compassionate care for those who are at risk or currently receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS. DC has operational program, we can highlight to delegates and representatives from around the globe to help reinforce link between AIDS/HIV treatment and medical cannabis.

National Issue:
-National Cancer Institute recently announced they recognize the medical benefits of Medical Marijuana in treatment for Cancer. NCI is federal govt agency (NIH), Federal govt currently does not recognize any medical benefit. Fed Govt agency at odds with policy, big breakthrough. Dept of health and human services now has information they may provide to Eric Holder to initiate process to reschedule Cannabis.

Motions from April Meeting:

-Advocate for cohesive, well organized repository of information managed by DC Govt (DC DOH), that will provide access to relevant information for concerned District residents on issues regarding medical program.

Including medical/scientific journals/studies regarding efficacy and associated risks of medical marijuana, applicable and current laws that concerning medical marijuana in dc (prior info scattered and published on various agencies, ex. ABRA), and published list of opportunities for doctors to receive continuing education credits while receiving education on treating patients with medical cannabis.

-Seek out locations across District to hold townhall/ community meetings to inform District residents about upcoming medical marijuana program. (Lincoln Heights. Howard/Shaw, Eastern Market, Capital Hill, H st, Anacostia, Brookland, Brightwood)

Use opportunity to dispel myths about patients, provide info on framework of program and the confines that patients must abide by, and attempt to increase network of patients willing to speak up on behalf of those who are still intimidated by legal status.

This should accompany current and future outreach efforts with HIV/AIDS service organizations, use townhall and all community outreach efforts to spread joint awareness of risk of transmission and need for testing, as well as opportunities for individuals to support food bank/health service outreach for patients in the District of Columbia. We can also include a Flex Your Rights segment to inform patients of their legal rights when interacting with law enforcement after they are enrolled in the program.

Just some notes from the last meeting, we have lot of work to do spreading the positive message that patients will soon be protected in DC!




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