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December 16, 2009

Will medical pot be coming to the nation's capital?

Probably. President Obama today signed into law an omnibus spending bill that lifts a number of restrictions Congress had imposed on the District of Columbia, including a prohibition against implementation of a 1998 referendum that legalized the medical use of marijuana.

The range of this legislation is great, as this ACLU press release makes clear. And not just in Washington, D.C. It ends the Bush administration's abstinence-only sex education program and lifts the prohibition on federal funding of needle exchange programs.

But the biggest move for residents of the nation's capital may be the lifting of a congressional ban on medical marijuana in the capital. D.C. voters approved medical marijuana in 1998 by voting in favor of Initiative 59. Congress, however, quickly blocked it. Obama's signing today ends the prohibition.

What's next? That's still not certain. The D.C. Council chairman wants the council to take immediate steps to set up the rules for distribution. The city attorney is trying to determine if Congress has to be consulted again. One thing is clear: interest is already high among people who provide medical marijuana in other states. Here's the most recent Washington Post story.


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John Adargo

Have the States control the sales and use the money to balance the budget.

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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