Upcoming Town Hall Meeting in D.C. will Educate Prospective Patients on District Medical Marijuana Program

Washington, D.C. -- District voters overwhelmingly passed the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative nearly 15 years ago in 1998, but after passing several hurdles the law will finally go into effect early next year, only weeks away. In anticipation of this quickly approaching milestone, the country's leading advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and its D.C. chapter are hosting a Town Hall forum to answer questions about implementation of the law. Patients, in particular, will benefit by finding out how they can speak to their doctor about medical marijuana therapy, and whether they are qualified to become patients under the new program.
What: Town Hall Meeting -- D.C. Medical Marijuana Patients Forum
When: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 7:30pm
Where: National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle NW, Washington D.C. (in the Community Room)
The D.C. Medical Marijuana Patients Forum will feature ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer and Dr. Feseha Woldu from District Department of Health, and will cover such topics as: what conditions are eligible for medical cannabis therapy, how an eligible patient registers with the Department of Health, how registered patients are expected to acquire medical marijuana legally in the District, and how patients can work with the local government to make the program work best for District residents.

"It's important to have medical marijuana patients, the ones most affected by the law, be properly educated on their rights and responsibilities," said Steph Sherer. "With implementation of the law just around the corner, patients should not only begin a dialog with their doctors about medical marijuana, they should also have the chance to clarify their needs and contribute to the development of the program."

In addition to the December 12th Town Hall forum, patients will have another opportunity to emphasize their needs through an online patient survey that is being conducted by ASA. The survey asks prospective patients about their current knowledge and previous experience with the therapeutic use of marijuana. Survey data is collected confidentially and only anonymous survey results will be shared with the Department of Health as well as local medical marijuana cultivators and providers so they can better understand the needs of District patients.

The survey can be accessed at: http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/DC-survey.

After a Congressional ban was lifted in 2010, implementation of the D.C. medical marijuana law began in earnest. First, the District Council approved a new law and set of regulations, which allowed the Department of Health to start accepting proposals for the production and distribution of medical marijuana. Now, more than two years later, with six cultivators and four dispensaries granted conditional permits, the program is close to operational, and the ability of local patients to utilize the District's medical marijuana law is finally in sight.

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