The tension between the federal government and the 17 states that have authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes reached a boiling point in late June when the Justice Department sternly reminded local officials across the country that the federal government could still prosecute individuals for growing or distributing marijuana, regardless of whether the state or city they were in allowed them to do it.

The warning left D.C. officials in the lurch — how could they implement the city’s long-overdue medical marijuana program while limiting their legal liability? Simple — fine print.

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Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.