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Paint the White House Green

It is official. The nation’s capital is one step closer to joining states like California and Colorado by granting their first dispensary, and one marijuana-growing center, permission to occupy their buildings.

The district council authorized medical marijuana in 2009, however because of disagreements about regulation and location of cultivation centers, the process has been a slow one until Tuesday. The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs granted, “certificates of occupancy,” to a cultivation center that will be at 1840 Fenwick St. NE, and a dispensary at 1334 North Capitol Ave. NW.

Activists at the meeting on Tuesday hope patients will be receiving their first doses of medicine by the spring, only after the Department of Health inspects the facilities and grants them the permission to open.

Only after that point can they begin growing their first crop, which can take up to three months to harvest and make it to the patient’s hands. The districts definition of “patient,” is someone suffering from cancer, HIV-AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or glaucoma. They will be allowed a dosage of two ounces of cannabis per month, but will not be permitted to grow their own. According to the regulations, even after the growing center gets the go ahead to open, they are only allowed 95 plants at a given location.

What is especially interesting about the situation in D.C. is the proximity of these new dispensaries and growing centers to the feds. From November 2011, to now, there has been more medical marijuana dispensaries busted under the Obama Administration than in all 8 years of the Bush administration. This is confusing considering in 2004, Barack Obama was campaigning FOR the decriminalization of marijuana. His posture as president has proven to be very different from that of his as a candidate. Something else has got to be going on here, or we would have seen decriminalization of medical marijuana nation-wide.

It will be interesting to see how the feds respond to their biggest rival growing in their very own back yard. Whether it is a matter of triangulation on Obama’s part, or behind-the-scenes puppetry, the administration needs to be truthful with the district. We need to work quickly to establish guidelines so that D.C. patients can begin their long awaited treatment.


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