Aspiring D.C. Pot Dealers Challenge Rejections 
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Aspiring D.C. Pot Dealers Challenge Rejections 
Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2012 at 19:13:26 PT
By Annys Shin
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. --  Johnnie Scott Rice has held a lot of titles in her life: director of constituent services, advisory neighborhood commissioner, D.C. Council candidate. But there is one title she covets that has eluded her: District pot dealer.Rice, 71, is part of the Green House, a self-proclaimed “group of old ladies,” that the city recently turned down for a license to sell medical marijuana. Three other rejected applicants, including a Bethesda eye doctor and a competitive bass fisherman, have gone to court in the past week to contest the city’s decision, said Ted O. Gest, spokesman for the D.C. Office of Attorney General.
Many of those turned down have said the selection process is confusing and opaque. They contend the D.C. Health Department did not provide clear explanations for its decisions — an accusation city officials deny.Rice and her partners, who include a former lingerie store owner and a social worker, are disappointed, although they have decided not to pursue legal action. For nearly a year, the women have used their retirement savings to lease a dispensary location in Shaw, hoping to provide medical marijuana to people with glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. They want to know exactly where they fell short in their months-long application bid.“We don’t want to waste their time or our time,” Rice said. “It’s confusing even to us.”The health department, which is overseeing the roll-out of the medical marijuana program, relied on a panel of experts to score each application.The agency told one applicant that much of the proposal was “adequate” but denied it. It dinged at least three of the unsuccessful applicants for not providing a sample label even though the application didn’t require one.Rice’s group asked to see its scores through a request under the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act. But the agency refused to release the scores or other material that would shed light on the panel’s decision-making process, arguing that a final announcement has not yet been made, and that such documents contain trade secrets. The scores are also part of confidential deliberations by government officials that the city is not legally obligated to disclose, said health department spokeswoman Najma Roberts.That explanation troubles the applicants that were turned away.“I don’t understand why this is so secretive, especially for something so high profile,” said Tom Lindenfeld, a local political consultant working with Compassion Centers, which is affiliated with an established dispensary operator in California.The two other groups that have filed appeals are the Health Company, which is led by Michael Duplessie, a Bethesda ophthalmologist, and the Free World Remedy, lead by Jonathan Marlow, a competitive bass fisherman from Northern Virginia whose mother suffers from multiple sclerosis.The legal challenges are the latest wrinkle in a selection process marred by glitches from the start.Since passing a medical marijuana law in 2010, the District has taken a go-slow approach in an effort to avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in other jurisdictions, such as Colorado and California, where critics say medical marijuana has become little more than legalized drug dealing.The District’s regulations are among the toughest in the country, with strict limits on how many plants can be grown, how much the dispensaries can charge and who can buy it. Only people with certain chronic conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma qualify; they are allowed two ounces in a 30-day period with a doctor’s recommendation.The city began accepting applications last year for licenses to operate up to 10 cultivation centers and five dispensaries. There were problems almost immediately. Some who had planned on applying were scared off by having to sign a statement saying they understood growing and selling marijuana was still illegal under federal law.The health department initially rejected some applicants for minor errors, such as leaving off e-mail addresses, then later let them back in. Officials also rejected Duplessie’s application to operate a cultivation center because it was 90 minutes late — even though an evacuation of the agency’s offices was partly to blame.The agency was supposed to announce the dispensary licensees earlier this spring but pushed the date back to June, forcing some of the applicants, including Rice’s group, to spend additional money to continue leasing space.Last month the health department last month informed the 17 aspiring pot retailers which of them were still in the running. Only four made it through, and they must win approval from their local advisory neighborhood commissions.The four that made it: Herbal Alternatives, which is looking to open a dispensary near 20th and M streets NW; Metropolitan Wellness Center Corporation, which is eyeing a location along Barracks Row on Capitol Hill by a fast-food restaurant and a tattoo parlor; Takoma Wellness Center, which plans to open near the Takoma Metro Station; and VentureForth LLC, which has a site by O and North Capitol streets NW.So far, many of the groups that the city has tapped to grow and to sell medical marijuana have mainly been established pot dispensaries and cultivators from other parts of the country, including Abatin Wellness Center of Sacramento, the brainchild of former talk-show host Montel Williams.Local officials, including D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large), had hoped for more local representation. The local players who have made the cut for either a dispensary or cultivation license are retired Takoma Park rabbi Jeffrey Kahn and his wife, Stephanie; lawyer Edward Grandis, executive director of the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association; financier Corey Barnette; and Capitol Hill liquor store owners Rick and Jon Genderson.Deep roots in the city were a big part of the pitch that Rice, a third-generation Washingtonian, made at community gatherings in Shaw, where their dispensary was to be located, on the same block as social service agency Bread for the City.Rice grew up in Trinidad, the daughter of a bricklayer, and has been a longtime fixture on the D.C. political scene. She has run for office, worked as an aide to Catania and served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 7 for 10 years. She is also an insulin-dependent diabetic, has glaucoma and can no longer drive at night. Not long after the D.C. Council made medical marijuana legal, she heard from friends in California that cannabis could help people with glaucoma.“It made me think about this,” she said. “If this medicine can improve these conditions in me, why not?”Unbeknownst to her, Francine Levinson, 61, was also thinking about applying for a license. Levinson has started businesses before. She got into banking after she discovered she couldn’t get a loan without her husband or her father signing for her. She became a founding member of the First Women’s Bank of Maryland. Levinson later ran a lingerie store for nine years. She and Rice have been friends for years, but they didn’t tell each other right away about their interest in pursuing a medical marijuana dispensary license.“Everybody was so timid about it,” Rice said.After a mutual friend clued both of the them in, the two decided to partner up and even considered naming the business, “Frankie and Johnnie,” a reference to the classic song, until Levinson’s daughter, Stephanie Mantelmacher, 46, said, “no one is going to know what that means.” Seeing that her input might come in handy, Mantelmacher, a former executive with XM Satellite Radio, joined the group. Leigh A. Slaughter, 58, a lawyer and real estate agent, and former Whitman-Walker Clinic official Patricia Hawkins, 71, filled out the team.If the city opens up the process again, Rice said, they would consider making another attempt. Until then, they can only imagine what might have been.The people who will be coming to buy medical marijuana “don’t want to see some young kids selling dope,” she said. “Most of the clientele is going to look like us. We are the face of the users of medical marijuana.”Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Annys ShinPublished: May 9, 2012Copyright: 2012 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 11, 2012 at 03:59:38 PT
It's great to see you and thank you! Yesterday was one of those days that I will remember for a long time.
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on May 10, 2012 at 21:16:33 PT
That's a nice story, FoM
Mrs. Green and I only have 40 more years to go to hit our 70th anniversary. I hope we can do it without the broken bones but the Spirit thing we've got.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 10, 2012 at 17:15:43 PT
Off Topic But Nice
Today we had to go to the VA Clinic. After we had our appointments we picked up my sister, went out to lunch and then went to the nursing home to see Bobby. It was all good. On our way out of the nursing home my sister wanted me to meet an 87 year old lady. She was so tiny and covered to her neck with a blanket in bed. She glowed. She was beautiful. She fell and broke her hip and shoulder and did the same to her other hip last year. She is very fragile. Her mind was peaceful and crisp. I told her that she had a beautiful Spirit about her and she smiled from ear to ear. Her husband comes to visit her everyday and he is 89. They have been married over 70 years, He was at Normandy. They were activists trying to stop the polluting of their water table in the area and that is how she met my sister a number of years ago. As I left and said goodbye I smiled. She is at Peace. If we try to do good and be kind in our lives we will also be at Peace and maybe lucky enough to live a long life like she and her husband have. That's all.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on May 10, 2012 at 11:17:42 PT
ekim #4 & Hope #5
{ Boyd then asked Romney whether marijuana should be legalized for medical use and taxed.A visibly agitated Romney cut the reporter off: “Aren’t there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about?”“This is a significant issue in Colorado,” Boyd replied.“The economy, the economy, the economy. The growth of jobs. The need to put people back to work. }Sure, Mitt, you mean those jobs that the GOP & Tea Party promised in the 2010 election, those jobs that they have done everything to oppose by cutting funding and focusing on social engineering of the populace? The Republican Party true to its recent roots would rather support the "investor economy" for the 1% at the expense of the 99% and those underpaid "coolies" in China. Same deal as the Banana Republics and their neo-colonial corporations like United Fruit Company [Chiquita brand] & the Standard Fruit Company [Dole brand].Banana republic{ January 21, 1943The Story of Hemp, New Million Dollar Crop for Minnesota FarmersAmerican farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. It is hemp, a crop that will not compete with other American products. Instead, it will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by the underpaid coolie and peasant labor and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land. }
--excerpted material is from the Jackson County Pilot (Minnesota); 1943.
1942-44: 30+ MINNESOTA HEMP FOR VICTORY ARTICLES are the jobs, Mitt!!!
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 10, 2012 at 09:19:48 PT
'NJWeedman' convicted of pot possession
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 10, 2012 at 09:16:45 PT
Oh boy....
Mitt Romney Scolds Reporter Over Marijuana Question: ‘Aren’t There Issues Of Significance?’
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on May 10, 2012 at 08:09:14 PT
they still wonder why the hemp program was axed
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Comment #3 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 10, 2012 at 08:01:24 PT:
The Real Problem
The government's real problem with marijuana has nothing to do with a psychoactive albeit non-toxic plant. It has everything to do with the facts surrounding the federal government's receipt of intelligence in the mid-1930s that shortages of "strategic materials" (namely rubber for tires and silk for parachutes) should cause a crash program to replace these items with man-made materials.
At that time, nylon was not quite ready for prime time. Cost issues still did not allow it to compete favorably with hemp, so a tax on hemp was prescribed.At issue here is the intel that was received to cause this shift in the name of "National Security". What was this information? And who provided it?THIS is what is at the heart of why the government is so touchy about a plant that has been serving humans for thousands of years: the possibility that Uncle Sam knew, by the mid-1930s that a coming World War was a done deal. 
How could they be certain? Because the info they received was that American industrialists were assisting the German government to prepare for the next war while simultaneously financing Germany's reparations for the last one. As a business model, it's hard to beat.The scramble for war materials was on, according to the Congressional Record, as early as 1937 when the tax on hemp was passed.Germany signed an armistice ending World War I in November of 1918. On September 1, 1939, Germany went at it again.Not even 21 full years have passed.Germany was supposed to be a defeated nation after World War I, expected to pay heavy war reparations in gold to the allies and prohibited from rebuilding its heavy industry, specifically its military industry. 
So where (and how) did their infrastructure, there stockpile of steel plate, airplanes, weapons, ammo, invasion supplies, uniforms and everything else originate? 
Could it be from the same people who were financing Germany's reparations of gold from World War I, the Americans?Could this information have come from a young naval officer who would someday grow up to become president of the United States?That this young man's response to the information he discovered was to blackmail those involved to advance his own political career is not terribly laudable, however, typical it might have been for Richard Nixon. And like a bad dog not caught in the act, he would do it again years later in Vietnam.And when the Timothy Leary case is overturned by the Supreme Court, and Congress asks for a scientific review of cannabis, who just happens to be president? 
None other than tricky Dick himself, who knew what was at stake and consigned Mary Jane and the reason we turned away, when we did, to the deepest part of Bullshit Lake.If the feds had left the issue of marijuana up to the states, this controversy would have resolved itself a long time ago. 
 As it is, every time we ask, "Why isn't marijuana legal?" The government hears the accusation, "When did you know the Germans were being rearmed by American corporations?"World War II is over. 
 The "default to deceit" carries on.RESTORE THE HEMP INDUSTRY!WE NEED JOBS AND SANITY NOW!
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on May 10, 2012 at 05:56:33 PT
radio show on MI dispensary bill proposed-8PM
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 10, 2012 at 03:58:53 PT
Whose Problem is This?
" . . . and that such documents contain trade secrets."
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