Today, the District’s medical marijuana program inches closer to reality, as the rules governing who can grow, dispense and procure marijuana go into effect*.
The rules were originally drafted and opened to public comment last August; a second version released in November included some changes requested by medical marijuana advocates, but the system envisioned by city officials remained extremely restrictive.

Under the program’s rules, only five dispensaries and 10 cultivation centers will be allowed, and starting either one or the other won’t be cheap. Patients will only be able to purchase two ounces of marijuana a month.

Of course, the rules are but one part of the equation. Mayor Vince Gray now has to appoint the four-person board that will dole out licenses for dispensaries and cultivation centers, and the Department of Health has to go about implementing the rules applying to patients and doctors. Until the positions are filled, the District’s medical marijuana program will remain an idea that looks great on paper alone.


*This story was later updated, to reflect the fact that while the rules should be taking effect today, due to the timing of when they were submitted to the D.C. Council, they only become legally valid once published in the D.C. Register, which should happen next week.