DC, California offer contrasts in medi-pot approach
Posted in the Martinez Forum
#1 Nov 29, 2013
DC, Calif. offer contrasts in medi-pot approach
Complaints of a “wink-wink” headache and the $40 prescriptions that qualify thousands for marijuana in California won’t work in Washington, D.C.’s newly opened medicinal marijuana dispensaries.
The nation’s capital in July joined a budding number of states to allow medical marijuana to be sold legally.
But with the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Agency calling D.C. home, the district’s medical marijuana program varies quite a bit from its California counterpart.
In Washington D.C., the dispensaries actually look like medical offices.
One proposed site is sandwiched between an orthodontist and urologist office on a downtown corridor crowded with lobbyists and attorneys. One of the dispensaries already open for business is just a short walk from the U.S. Capitol.
By comparison, some Venice Beach dispensaries have featured scantily clad women inviting passers-by inside for “evaluations.”
In Los Angeles, shops like “South Coast Greenz” and “O.C. Farmacy” offer delivery service. Similar ventures offer one-stop diagnosis and shopping, without having to officially register with the state.
Those seeking medical marijuana have ample choices available to them in Vallejo and in the greater Sacramento area to the east. Meanwhile Solano County is considering allowing medi-pot dispensaries in some rural areas near the county’s incorporated cities.
Advertisements for “medicated Thanksgiving turkeys” and “$49 medical doctors,” lead many to suspect that California’s dispensaries cater toward recreational use and not the treatment of illness.
Some say that the differences between the programs reflect each coast’s perspectives: California more laid back and Washington more uptight.
“They’re not practicing medicine on Venice Beach,” Eric Sterling, director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation said, noting that Washington patients are in dire need.“D.C.’s average patient is 50 years old, with one 93-year-old patient, all of whom are deeply concerned with obeying the law and are sufficiently sick.”
California cardholders would have a hard time recognizing the restrictions on Washington’s exclusive patient pool.
D.C. dispensaries list only four conditions that qualify: HIV/AIDs, cancer, glaucoma and conditions characterized by severe muscle spasms such as multiple sclerosis. The Department of Health website also permits chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Azidothymidine or Protease inhibitors – used for HIV – as treatments that qualify for D.C. medical marijuana.
Patients must fill out a 14-page application with the D.C. Department of Health, pay a $100 application fee and register with one specific D.C. dispensary in addition to finding one of the few doctors in the area who will recommend the program in the first place. If patients want to change their dispensary, they have to pay a new $90 registration fee and notify the Department of Health 14 days before changing.
Doctors who recommend more than 250 patients per year automatically trigger an audit.
The strictness of the program means that Washington currently has only about 70 patients, a number that has been growing very slowly since the program’s inception in July. Los Angeles alone has more than 100 dispensaries, even after Measure D forced hundreds of others to close.
California had an estimated 554,000 card-carrying medical marijuana patients as of December 2012, according to Mason Tvert from the Marijuana Policy Project.
Prices are more expensive in Washington, with an average ounce costing about $100 more than a Californian equivalent.
Some argue that D.C.’s strictness could prevent access to the people who need it most. They say that for some terminally ill patients who actually qualify, the time and money required by the application process are two things that the patients may not have.
#2 Nov 29, 2013
Do you still have any questions " W H Y " this state and nation are so "F"ed up ???
Dope heads vote dope-a-crat.
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