Medical Marijuana Hearing Draws A Full House

12:52 PM, Feb 24, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON DC (WUSA) --- Steph Sherer tells DC City Council that she chooses to break the law by using marijuana for  treatment of her back injury. She is one of more than 50 people who was on the list to testify in front of councilmembers Tuesday.

City Councilmembers David Catania and Phil Mendelson spearheaded the public hearing on B18-622: Legalization of  Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative.  The DC medical marijuana bill, Initiative 59, was voted into legislation in 1998. But Congress put a block on the implementation of the law. The block was lifted Dec. 2009. Now the city is trying to work out the details of implementing the groundbreaking law.

Sherer says when other drugs were threatening to shut down her kidneys, the doctor secretly suggested she try the illegal alternative. 

"It's humiliating and embarrassing to wait at parking lots for some kid to show up [to sell me marijuana]," she says.

Sherer is the executive director of the Americans For Safe Access, that pushes for the legalization of medical marijuana.  

Co-author of Initiative 59, Wayne Turner, testified and spoke of the urgent need of patients of chronic illness like AIDS, to get the drug.  

Dr. Pierre Vigilance of the DC Health Department says the drug will provide relief. Vigilance mentions medical evidence that the drug can reduce nausea, vomiting, and aid cancer and HIV/AIDs patients to relieve pain.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding proper distribution, use, and cultivation of the drug in the city.

"It may be good to locate them in hospitals and pharmacies,"  says Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Councilmember.

Vigilance says answers to these questions will be coming in the next 30 days. 

Written by: Elizabeth Jia

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