The Department of Health for the District of Columbia announced the names of the applicants that have been approved for licenses to cultivate medical marijuana in the nationâ€™s capitol, bringing qualifying patients one step closer to being able to use marijuana to treat their conditions.
After a series of delays, the Dept. of Health released the names of six applicants that had best met the strict criteria set forth by the D.C. Council last year. These cultivation centers will be responsible for providing all the medical marijuana for the District and could begin production in less than a month.
â€œI am thrilled that the District of Columbia is one step closer to having the medical marijuana program available for those patients most in need,â€ said Dr. Akhter, director of the D.C. Dept. of Health. â€œThe selected applicants went through a rigorous process, and I am confident that these applicants are capable of ensuring patient and public safety, as they have met all the criteria defined in the program regulations.â€
â€œThis is a major step for patients that could benefit from this program toward finally finding relief. Congress and the D.C. government have been delaying implementation since 1998, and it is good to see that patients will soon have access to their medicine,â€ said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. â€œThe medical marijuana program established in the District is a model of safety and effectiveness. Mayor Vincent Gray should be congratulated for listening to his constituents and serving the seriously ill patients of the District.â€
There are currently 16 states that allow qualifying patients to use medical marijuana, in addition to the District of Columbia.
One of the approved applicants in D.C. is a company that is partially owned by former talk show host Montel Williams, a Maryland native and medical marijuana patient. Williams uses marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis and has been a long-time advocate for protecting patients from arrest and providing safe access to their medicine.