For those keeping track of the District’s progress in the medical marijuana game, today is not the small milestone it appeared to be.

DCist reports that the medical marijuana rules released in November 2010 will go into effect… not today, but shortly: “It seems 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.”

The rules themselves are hardly liberal: The District will allow only five dispensaries and ten cultivation centers. (City Paper looked at one proposed center, to be run by a rabbi in Takoma, in August.) Patients will only be allowed to purchase two ounces a month. And whenever they take effect, it won’t exactly signal the advent of a medical marijuana culture around these parts. Mayor Vince Gray still has to appoint a four-person board to oversee the operation and handling of related policy, and the Department of Health will undertake rules applying to patients and doctors.

DCist notes that “the glacial pace with which the program has progressed has been of some frustration to advocates, many of whom have found leases left hanging until they could be sure that the rules would take effect and have someone to govern their implementation.” We wish upon NORML-ites and their compatriots a heavy does of patience; expect Gray’s deliberateness to shine in this arena.

Photo by Neeta Lind via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0