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Medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open in Washington, D.C. this summer, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Marijuana cultivation centers have begun to lease storefronts throughout Washington, the article notes. Residents will be able to purchase marijuana if they are diagnosed with HIV, cancer, glaucoma or other serious chronic or serious illnesses. They will be allowed to carry no more than 2 ounces, and will not be allowed to smoke marijuana in public or at dispensaries.

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana was first approved by the city’s residents in 1998, but Congress rejected the ballot measure. In 2010, Congress agreed to stop blocking the measure.

Last July, The U.S. Justice Department announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws.

The Justice Department memo followed warning letters from the federal government to officials in several states including Washington, California, Colorado, Montana and Rhode Island about medical marijuana laws. The letters from U.S. attorneys indicated that people involved in the growing, dispensing and regulating of medical marijuana have the potential to be prosecuted—even if they are following state laws.


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