Government and People
"Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative of 1998"
This Initiative, if passed, permits the medical use of marijuana by patients suffering from certain debilitating conditions such as cancer, glaucoma and AIDS. This Initiative would:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this Act, which may be cited as the "Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative of 1998," amends Title 33 of the District of Columbia Code by adding a new chapter to read:
Chapter 11. Medical Use of Marijuana by Persons Suffering from Debilitating Medical Conditions.
For the purposes of this chapter, the term:
(1) "Debilitating medical condition" means:
(2) "Director" means the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, or such employees of the Department of Health as the Director may designate in writing as authorized to carry out the Director's duties under this chapter.
(3) "Medical use" means, for the purposes of this chapter, the acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, and/or transportation of marijuana and/or paraphernalia related to the administration of such marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a patient's debilitating medical condition, which may be authorized only after a diagnosis of the patient's debilitating medical condition by a physician and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(4) "Parent" means a custodial mother or father of a patient under the age of eighteen years, any other person having custody of a patient under the age of eighteen years. or any person serving as the legal guardian for a patient under the age of eighteen years.
(5) "Patient" means, for the purposes of this chapter. person who has a debilitating medical condition.
(6) "Physician" means a doctor of medicine who maintains, in good standing, a license to practice medicine and to distribute, dispense, conduct research with respect to or to administer a controlled substance in the course of professional practice or research in the District of Columbia.
(7) "Primary care-giver" means one person, other than the patient and the patient's physician, who is eighteen years of age or older and has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of a patient.
(8) "Registry Identification Card" means that document by the Director, which identifies an individual authorized to use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a debilitating medical condition, as well as such individual's primary care-giver, if any has been designated.
(9) "Usable marijuana" or "usable form of marijuana" means, for the purposes of this chapter and not withstanding the definitions of "cannabis," "marijuana" and "hashish" set out in §33-501(3) of this Title, the plant genus Cannabis, and includes the seeds, leaves, buds and flowers of the plant genus Cannabis and any mixture or preparation thereof, but excludes the plant's stalks, stems, roots and water content.
(10) "Written documentation" means, for the purposes of this chapter, a statement signed by a patient's physician or authentic copies of the patient's pertinent medical records.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in §33-1105 of this chapter, and notwithstanding any other provision of this Title, any patient or primary care-giver charged with a violation of District of Columbia law related to the patient's medical use of marijuana may raise as an affirmative defense to such charge that such medical use is authorized by this chapter, and such affirmative defense shall be presumed to be valid where the evidence shows that:
(b) Effective June 1, 1999, it shall be an exception from the laws of the District of Columbia for any patient or primary care-giver in lawful possession of, or named on, a valid Registry Identification Card issued by the Director pursuant to this chapter to engage in the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. except as provided in §33-1105 and 33-1107 of this chapter.
(c) No physician shall be subject to arrest or prosecution under District of Columbia law, penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for:
(1) Advising a patient, whom the physician has diagnosed as having a debilitating
medical condition, about the risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana or that he or
she might benefit from the medical use of marijuana, provided that such advice is based
upon the physician's assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical
condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship; or
(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, no person, including a patient or primary care-giver, shall be entitled to the protection of this chapter for his or her acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, sale, distribution, and/or transportation of marijuana for any use other than medical use.
(e) Any property interest that is possessed, owned, used in connection with the medical use of marijuana, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be harmed, neglected, injured, or destroyed while in the possession of District Columbia law enforcement officials where such property has been seized in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana. Any such property interest shall not be forfeited under any provision of law providing for the forfeiture cc property other than as a sentence imposed after conviction a criminal offense or entry of a plea of guilty to such offense. Marijuana and paraphernalia seized by District Columbia law enforcement officials from a patient or primary care-giver in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana shall be returned immediately upon the determination the prosecuting attorney or his or her designee, or a court, that the patient or primary care-giver is entitled to the protections provided by this chapter as may be evidenced. for example, by a decision not to prosecute, the dismissal of charges, or acquittal.
The Director shall create and maintain a confidential Registry of patients who have applied for and entitled to receive, effective June 3, 1999, a Registry Identification Card according to the criteria set forth in this chapter.
(a) No person shall be permitted to gain access to any information about patients maintained in the Director's confidential Registry, including information about physicians and primary care-givers of patients, except for authorized employees of the Department of Health in the course of their official duties and authorized employees of those District of Columbia law enforcement agencies which have stopped or arrested a person who claims to be authorized to use marijuana pursuant to this chapter. Authorized employees of District of Columbia law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to Registry exclusively for the purpose of verifying that an individual who has presented a Registry Identification Card to District of Columbia law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such Registry Identification Card.
(b) In order to be placed on the Director's confidential Registry for the medical use of marijuana, a patient must reside in the District of Columbia, complete the application form adopted by the Director, and submit such application, including the following information, to the Director:
(c) Within thirty days of receiving the information. referred to in §33-1103(b), the Director shall verify the information contained therein. The Director shall notify the applicant that his or her application for a Registry Identification Card has been denied if the Director's rev of such documentation discloses that the information required has not been provided or has been falsified; the documentation fails to state that the patient has a debilitating medical condition specified in this chapter; or the physician does not have a valid license to practice medicine and to prescribe, dispense or administer controlled substances in the District of Columbia. Otherwise, not more than five days after verifying such information, the Director shall issue a single, serially numbered Registry Identification Card to the patient, stating:
(d) The denial of a Registry Identification Card shall be considered a final agency action, subject to judicial review. Only the patient whose application has been denied shall have standing to contest the agency action.
(e) A patient whose application has been denied by the Director may not reapply during the six months following the date of the denial.
(f) When there has been a change in the name, address physician, or primary care-giver of a patient who has qualified for a Registry Identification Card, that patient must notify the Director of any such change within ten days. A patient who has not designated a primary care-giver at the time of application to the Registry may do so in writing at any time during the effective period of the Registry Identification Card, and the primary care-giver may act in this capacity after such designation has been confirmed in writing by the Director. To maintain an effective Registry Identification Card, a patient must annually resubmit, at least thirty days prior to the expiration date stated on the Card, updated written documentation to the Director as well as the name and address of the patient's primary care-giver, if any is designated at such time.
(g) A patient who, in the opinion of his or her physician, no longer suffers from a debilitating medical condition, or whose physician has determined that the patient's medical use of marijuana has not had the anticipated positive clinical result or that any adverse effects of using marijuana have outweighed its benefits for said patient, shall surrender his or her Registry Identification Card to the Director within forty-eight hours of learning of such opinion or determination by his or her physician.
(h) Authorized employees of District of Columbia courts or law enforcement agencies shall notify the Director when any person in possession of a Registry Identification Card has been determined by a court of law to have willfully violated the provisions of this chapter, or of subsequent provisions of law promulgated pursuant to §33-1106 or 33-1108 of this chapter, or has pled guilty to such offense.
(i) The District of Columbia Department of Health may determine and levy reasonable fees to pay for any and all administrative costs incurred, or reasonably expected to be incurred, pursuant to the discharge of the Director's responsibilities under this chapter.
(a) A patient using marijuana for medical purposes according to the provisions of this chapter, or his or her primary care-giver, may collectively possess or transport no more marijuana than is necessary under the circumstances to assure, throughout the projected course of treatment, the uninterrupted availability of such marijuana for the purpose of reliably alleviating the symptoms or effects of that patient's debilitating medical condition. For purposes of this chapter, the medical use of the following quantities of marijuana is lawful:
(b) For quantities of marijuana in excess of these amounts, a patient or his or her primary care-giver may assert affirmative defense of medical necessity, and such defense shall be established if such patient or primary care-giver proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that such greater amounts were necessary to alleviate the symptoms or effects that patient's debilitating medical condition.
(a) No patient in lawful possession of, or eligible for, a Registry Identification Card pursuant to this chapter shall:
(b) In addition to any other penalties provided by law, any patient found to have willfully violated the provisions of this chapter shall be precluded from obtaining or using a Registry Identification Card for the medical use of marijuana for a period of one year.
(c) No governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider shall be required to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.
(d) Nothing in this chapter shall require any accommodation of any medical use of marijuana:
Not later than April 30, 1999, the Council of the District of Columbia shall determine and enact criminal penalties for:
No patient under eighteen years of age shall use marijuana for medical purposes pursuant to this chapter unless:
(a) Two physicians have concurred in a diagnosis that the patient has a debilitating medical condition;
(b) One physician referred to in subsection (a) has explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana to the patient and the patient's parent(s), as defined in this chapter, residing in the District of Columbia, and the physician has provided the patient and/or the patient's parent(s) with the written documentation required under this chapter;
(c) Each of the patient's parents, as defined in this chapter, who reside in the District of Columbia, affirms in writing to the Director that he or she consents to the patient's use of marijuana for medical purposes, and one parent agrees in writing to serve as the patient's primary care-giver;
(d) the patient or the patient's parent submits to the Director an application for a Registry Identification Card and such Card is issued by the Director;
(e) the patient and the primary care-giver collectively possess amounts of marijuana no greater than those specified in §33-1104(a) of this chapter; and
(f) the primary care-giver controls the acquisition of such marijuana and the dosage and frequency of its use by the patient.
Not later than June 1, 1999, the District of Columbia Department of Health shall promulgate rules of administration including rules governing the manner in which the Director may consider adding debilitating medical conditions to the list set out in §33-1101 of this chapter. Such rules shall provide the means by which, after June 1, 1999, the Director shall accept for consideration petitions submitted by physicians or patients to add debilitating medical conditions to those included in §33-1101 and shall include provisions for public notice of, and an opportunity to comment in a public hearing upon, such petitions. The Director shall, after hearing, approve or deny such petitions within one hundred eighty days of submission. The denial of such a petition shall be considered a final agency action, subject to judicial review.
DC Voters for Medical Rights
Secretary, William Davidson, 202-667-1312
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