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Washington D.C. too harsh on medical marijuana dispensaries

By Jackie Tortorello
On April 20, 2012

In 1998, they voted. In 2012 it finally passed. By doing so the D.C. council granted licenses to six medical marijuana cultivators. Despite such a long turnover rate and the negative connotations associated with the green, this new ruling means it might be a little easier to roll up and spark it.

Or maybe it won't. According to an article published in the Washington Post, the D.C. council originally envisioned dolling out 10 cultivation licenses that would approve growers to maintain 95 plants.

However, because of implications posted by the Department of Health only six were given the go ahead.

This doesn't mean much for those who have elected to abstain from the enticing smoke and liberated outlook. But for those with a problem, it's serious business. It could mean excessive muscle spasms and cramping from diseases like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. According to, "In a 2000 study, 70-80 percent of patients experienced pain relief when using medical marijuana."

"I have crippling anxiety. Like seriously I can't even make decisions and when I smoke it feels like the pressure from my mind is just lifted off my chest. I'm not a drug addict, I just want to function like everyone else," an anonymous DePaul student said.

A previous bill, passed in 2010 made it legal for a patient stricken with HIV, glaucoma, cancer or a "chronic and lasting disease" to possess the maximum of two ounces with a doctor's recommendation letter. These patients experience multiple and different symptoms but medicate mostly to combat the pain and nausea. They are prohibited from growing any themselves because of the formal contribution from distribution centers.

The imposition of these distribution centers gives marijuana a decriminalized appeal. However, it also promotes the capitalist nature of the United States. Just like prescription companies mark up the price of medicine, distribution centers pray on the vulnerabilities of their clients.

This law is far different than the ones upheld in California. Out west, locals and tourists alike can gain access to products that potentially procure all sorts of ailments. From back pain to insomnia, medical marijuana advocates promote and exploit all sorts of uses. Which is why California's medical marijuana dispensaries have become popular and so diluted. This is what politicians in D.C. fear.

"The minute you walk down the Venice Beach strip there are people in green scrubs yelling at you to get 'legalized.' It's a pretty big scam," said 22-year-old Emma Shiprley.

Through granting licenses to only six growers, D.C. is trying to curb its medical market from going up in flames by granting access to the public. However, because of these limitations imposed by the semantics of law many question the price and availability of their medicine.

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