Medical Marijuana has been legal for over two years in the District of Columbia, but, until now, the city lacked a regulatory framework for patients to purchase marijuana at licensed dispensaries. The district government recently licensed six facilities to grow cannabis and four dispensaries to sell marijuana and related paraphernalia to patients who are prescribed it by their doctor for specific medical reasons, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.
Capital City Care on North Capital St. hopes to open by April and become the first legal and operational medical marijuana dispensary in the District, according to WJLA.
General Manager David Guard emphasized how tight the security will be in the shop. Before entering, patients will have to issue a government-issued medical marijuana card to the receptionist who will check names against a database. Inside the shop are biometric locks and security cameras to ensure security of the federally-controlled substance.
Perhaps to the disappointment of Georgetown students, D.C.’s requirements for obtaining a prescription for medical marijuana will be much stricter than Colorado’s, where 94 percent of users obtained their doctor’s notes for “severe pain.”
Critics argue that recreational users will fake illnesses in order to receive a prescription, but the owners of the facility insist that practice won’t happen in D.C. “That’s just not the case,” Guard told WJLA. “Not the case. This is about medicine.” In fact, the list of ailments for which a doctor could prescribe marijuana is quite restrictive: Only patents with HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, or severe muscle spasms along with people who are “undergoing medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiology, or protease inhibitors” are eligible to purchase marijuana legally.
Although commissioners of Georgetown’s ANC 2E had previously left the door open for open for the prospect of a medical marijuana shop opening in Georgetown, no one has proposed to establish one and having one remains unlikely. “The last I’ve heard, you’re only talking about five licenses for the whole city, so the notion that there would be more than one in Georgetown, I think is unrealistic,” commissioner Charles Eason previously told the Voice.
Marijuana of all sorts, of course, remains illegal on the federal level. At any time, the feds could shut down D.C.’s medical marijuana growers and dispensaries, as they have previously done in California. The Obama administration hasn’t yet indicated how it will proceed for D.C.
Photo: North Cascades National Park via Flickr