On Tuesday, the District of Columbia Department of Health announced the four prospective medical marijuana dispensary operators whose scores were high enough to be granted licenses from the city. Herbal Alternatives, Center City Care, Metropolitan Wellness Corporation, and Takoma Wellness Center — which will be owned and operated by a rabbi — will be the four entities licensed to dispense marijuana to qualifying patients later this year.
“Today’s announcement comes as welcome news for patients in D.C. who have waited a long time for the District’s medical marijuana program to get up and running,” said Dan Riffle, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project. “Congratulations to the operators of these four dispensaries, who will be at the forefront of one of the nation’s safest medical marijuana programs right here in Congress’ back yard.”
It’s still unclear exactly when patients in the District will have safe access to medicinal cannabis. According to a report in the Washington Post, the six cultivation centers licensed to grow marijuana haven’t yet started cultivating plants.
D.C. Councilmember David Catania called Tuesday’s action “another milestone on the path to making medical marijuana available.”
The announcement continues a trend of progress in marijuana reform across the nation.
Last week, the Rhode Island Legislature passed a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and on May 31, Connecticut’s governor signed legislation making that state the 17th in the country to permit the medical use of marijuana by patients with a doctor’s recommendation. A medical marijuana bill was also passed in New Hampshire and is on its way to the governor’s desk.
With polling data continuing to show strong support for allowing medical marijuana nationwide, advocates are hopeful that a well-regulated network of dispensaries operating just blocks from Capitol Hill could finally prompt a change in the federal government’s long-standing prohibition on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
A formal petition requesting the rescheduling of marijuana was filed by the governors of Washington state and Rhode Island late last year.