The District of Columbia’s long-awaited medical marijuana program took a big step forward this week when officials issued occupancy permits for DC’s first marijuana cultivation center and dispensary. Both locations are less than three miles from the J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The step was widely viewed as one of the last hurdles to a working medical marijuana program that almost 70 percent of DC voters approved in a referendum 14 years ago, reports In The Capital.
Congress spent years blocking funding for the program before finally getting out of the way after President Obama was elected. Then a tortuous three-year regulatory process began, which has only recently been completed.
|The J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, D.C., is less than three miles from sites that have been approved for a medical marijuana dispensary and a cannabis cultivation center
D.C. patients, unfortunately, aren’t allowed to grow their own medicine; they are required to buy their cannabis from one of the six dispensaries which will eventually be open in the district.
Only 110 patients currently qualify for DC’s medical marijuana program; each patient must have an “ongoing relationship” with the licensed doctor who authorizes their medicinal cannabis usage. Doctors will only be able to authorize two ounces per month to patients, and the list of qualifying conditions is strict, with conditions such as HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis or cancer included.
The occupancy permits were granted for a medical marijuana dispensary at 1334-1336 North Capital Street NW, and for a cannabis cultivation center at 1840 Fenwick Street NE. The program is expected to eventually have six cultivation centers, each allowed to grow 95 plants at a time, which means that 570 cannabis plants will be growing within a stone’s throw of the White House.