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  D.C. To Tap Growers of Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on December 26, 2011 at 16:45:47 PT
By Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times 
Source: Washington Times  

medical Washington, D.C. -- The District of Columbia’s health department is expected within the next few days to give its first indication of who qualifies to grow medical marijuana in the nation’s capital, a significant step in a program aimed at comforting the sick and dying that is more than a dozen years in the making.

A panel of health, regulatory and law enforcement officials tasked with choosing the top 20 out of 28 applications to open cultivation centers in the District is scheduled to complete its initial review by Friday and provide notice to qualifying applicants and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in the relevant areas by Jan. 4, according to a schedule from the D.C. Health Regulation and Licensing Administration.

Those seeking to dispense the drug will receive the results of similar initial review by the end of the January. Seventeen applicants are vying for the top 10 spots, though one has reportedly withdrawn.

After the initial review Friday of the cultivation centers, the panel will whittle the pools down to 10 cultivation centers and five dispensaries to start the program. The panel will take the ANCs’ opinions into account and make its final recommendations to D.C. Department of Health Director Mohammad Akhter. The agency will announce on March 2 and March 30 who is eligible for the cultivation registrations and dispensary registrations, respectively.

The city’s series of benchmarks shows the program is entering the homestretch and should reach fruition by this spring, though it has been vulnerable to delays and false starts in the past.

The District approved its program in a referendum in 1998, yet congressional intervention forced it to wait for more than a decade to move on the initiative. Now D.C. officials are rolling out their licensing program in a careful manner, hoping to avoid the legal stumbles that prompted federal prosecutors to roll back similar programs in states across the country.

In the city’s application materials, officials inserted a section that requires applicants to state in writing that they assume the risk of federal prosecution for growing or distributing the drug and that they cannot hold the city liable for arrests.

“I hope that they do go forward, and patients will be able to get their medicine after all these years,” said Nikolas Schiller, a steering committee member for medical marijuana advocacy group Safe Access D.C.

There are pitfalls to even minor delays, he added, because patients are suffering in the meantime and applicants may be paying rent on their cultivation-site leases with no profitable return while they await approval.

Many of the cultivation centers are expected to be clustered in Northeast around the Ivy City section of Ward 5. Cultivation centers must be 300 feet from schools and recreation centers and meet certain zoning requirements, which narrowed applicants’ options and explains why they are clustered in one industrial area of the city.

A panel of five members — one each from the Department of Health, Metropolitan Police Department, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and a consumer or patient advocate — is scoring each of the applications based on a 250-point scale that examines criteria such as security and staffing at their facilities and their overall business plans.

Besides community approval, cultivation centers must meet tight restrictions on size, a stringent 95-plant allotment, staffing and lighting, in addition to the buffer zones between cultivation centers and schools.

An applicant must be at least 21 years old and not been convicted of any felonies or misdemeanor drug crimes.

Source: Washington Times (DC)
Author: Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times
Published: December 26, 2011
Copyright: 2011 The Washington Times, LLC
Website: http://www.washtimes.com/
Contact: letters@washingtontimes.com
URL: http://drugsense.org/url/Ngiwkk4I

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Comment #10 posted by Oleg the Tumor on December 28, 2011 at 06:34:17 PT:

The New Cherry Blossom Special
Foreign tourists will provide many interesting comments regarding the "marijuana question", but anyone mistaking Washington DC for Old Amsterdam is going to be in for a rude surprise. Busloads of extremely polite Asians with cameras around their necks are about to have a mass WTF moment when they finally get it – "these people and their government have driven each other insane". They will mumble to one another in their native tongue about the bad feng shui, the ripoff T-shirts made a mile from their home and they will not return.

As for the Metropolitan Police Department, their new lecture series on hematology is being offered by Jack the Ripper…



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 27, 2011 at 19:25:40 PT
John Tyler
I'm glad you agree. When I look at almost any situation I look at them in different ways. I always try to see the big picture and I try not to look at the present circumstances.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #8 posted by HempWorld on December 27, 2011 at 18:55:52 PT
D.C. To Tap Growers of Medical Marijuana
Dear Mr. Tom Howell Jr. and to the officials of Washington DC, I am available to help you out! Will work for money!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on December 27, 2011 at 18:46:53 PT
D.C. tourists
FOM you are right. D.C. has 100s of thousands of tourists every year. They can’t help but notice the medical cannabis establishment there and wonder why if it is OK for D.C. why isn’t it OK in their state or city? The prohibitionist argument will look weaker and more untenable.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 27, 2011 at 17:33:40 PT
Cupcakes
I thought that was really funny too.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #5 posted by runruff on December 27, 2011 at 15:50:52 PT
"Cupcakes!"
"Suck it up cupcakes!"-LO[freaking]L!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 27, 2011 at 13:24:23 PT
Washington D.C.
I think it is wonderful. No matter how controlled it is tourists will learn about it and wonder why they can't have medical marijuana in their state too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out to be a good thing.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by Had Enough on December 27, 2011 at 13:23:10 PT
Cops say...

"A panel of five members — one each from the Department of Health, ”Metropolitan Police Department,” Office of the Attorney General, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and a consumer or patient advocate — is scoring each of the applications based on a 250-point scale that examines criteria such as security and staffing at their facilities and their overall business plans.""

And who is it that say...we don’t make the laws...we just enforce them...

Now in all fairness...the law has already been passed...but what is the Metropolitan Police Department...doing sticking their nose/authority in here...and deciding who can do what...they should not be on this panel or what ever they try to call their obfuscating stuff...!!!

That goes for the Attorney General’s office too...

They have been holding this up since 1998...

Special note to overrated bureaucrats....SUCK IT UP CUPCAKES!!!...and get the hell out of the way!!!

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on December 27, 2011 at 11:10:06 PT
Odd
Odd isn’t it that there is planning to set up a medical cannabis distribution network in the heart of the Federal government that contents that cannabis has no medical value.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by mykeyb420 on December 27, 2011 at 10:17:47 PT
rug
I hope that they dont get their hopes up just to have the rug pulled from underneath them,,just like DC LOVES to do.

[ Post Comment ]

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