D.C. offers cheaper MMJ to impoverished patients

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Now that Washington, D.C.'s medical marijuana law has passed congressional muster, it becomes something of an issue of how to implement the mandate that the drug be provided at a cheaper cost to qualifying residents, says the Associated Press.

"Obviously because there's no roadmap on how to do this, it may require some tweaking over time," said David Catania, a D.C. councilman and the chairman of the city health committee that drafted the law. "We may, in fact, set an example for other states."

The report says that the first round of rule-making is under way right now, and will updated throughout the coming months.

The range of what the drug will ultimately cost low-income residents is anyone's guess. On the illegal market, an ounce of marijuana can range from about $100-$140, according recent police estimates. City officials have estimated that an ounce from a dispensary will cost about $350 and that the average user will purchase about that much a month, though up to two ounces would be permitted. While one city report suggests 300 people would buy marijuana in the first year — a number some consider low — no one knows yet how many would qualify for a reduced rate. One guess is 30 percent, about the same as the percentage of the district's population that is on Medicaid.

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