At the August board meeting of the District of Columbia Patients' Cooperative ("DCPC"), it was decided that based on the most current regulations, DCPC will not be pursuing licenses for a cultivation center and dispensary in the District of Columbia at this time. While this was a very difficult decision to make, which we know let down many of our supporters throughout the District of Columbia, the board felt that the District government was not providing stakeholders the proper assurances that the program will be implemented expediently and without interference from local & federal authorities.
By requiring DCPC to sign the "Acknowledgment & Attestation Form," DCPC feels that stakeholders are likely being setup for criminal charges based on the incorrect assumption that the District's medical cannabis program is in violation of Federal law. Contrary to this form, DCPC does not believe we are violating Federal law by participating in the District's medical cannabis program because Congress approved the enabling legislation for the program on three different occasions. Under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution, which grants Congress "exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District of Columbia, we believe that Congress cannot on one hand allow for the District's medical cannabis program to move forward and on the other hand still be in violation of the laws passed by Congress. DCPC believes that by signing the form we waive the due process protections provided in the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, we cannot sign & notarize such a form until we know that it will not be used against DCPC. Had the District government chosen to stand up for the sick patients of the District of Columbia, or at least let patients grow their own supply of medicine in the comfort & privacy of their own homes, we do not believe we would have been required to sign such a form. And while District residents were told that the medical cannabis program was to follow the best practices of jurisdictions with implemented medical cannabis programs, DCPC is unaware of any other jurisdiction in America that requires applicants to sign such an onerous form.
In the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Conference Report: Financial Services Summary published by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on December 8th, 2009, it states that the 2010 appropriations budget "allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states." Thus the question must be raised, how can Congress give the District of Columbia the green light to move forward with it's medical cannabis program, but then have the District government require applicants to sign a form stating they are violating Federal law? We believe this fundamental question will be answered in the coming months, but in the meantime we are not going to risk going to jail in order to find out.
DCPC firmly believes that the District of Columbia's medical cannabis law needs to be revised to allow patients to grow their own medicine, which has always been the basis of every medical cannabis legislation in other States. We believe that the program will continue to be delayed and sick patients will continue to wait for safe access until the District government provides the needed leadership required to implement the program. We also question why the Mayor has chosen to not sign the final notice of the regulations and believe that stakeholders will be given a new set of regulations to comply with in December when the current Emergency regulations expire. Thus, DCPC has chosen to follow a "wait & see" approach- we will wait to see how the program is implemented and then we will decide whether to participate in the District's nascent medical cannabis program. We thank you for your patience and continued support.
If you have a moment, please contact the Mayor at (202) 727-6300 / firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Health Regulation and Licensing Administration at the DC Department of Health (202) 724-4900 / email@example.com with your comments, concerns, and suggestions related the District's medical cannabis program.
Below are links that relate to DCPC's ongoing efforts to assist the District's medical cannabis program:
+ DCPC's comments concerning the first proposed rulemaking[PDF] - 09/17/2010
+ Americans For Safe Access' comments concerning the first proposed rulemaking [PDF] - 09/17/2010
+ Marijuana Policy Project's comments concerning the first proposed rulemaking [PDF] - 09/17/2010
+ First Proposed Rulemaking: Amending Title 22 of DCMR by adding a new Subtitle C entitled "Medical Marijuana" [PDF] - 08/20/2010 - First draft of the proposed regulations to implement the District's medical cannabis program
+ Interview with Irvin Rosenfeld [Russia Today] - 07/26/2011
+ Medical marijuana licenses won't be ready until December, say D.C. officials [NewsChannel8] - 07/27/2011