WASHINGTON, DC — Nearly 70% of Washington, DC voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1998, and now, nearly fifteen years later, the first medical marijuana dispensary is providing cannabis to patients in our nation’s capital.
Capital City Care, the first of three dispensaries allowed to open in the District, began serving patients Monday evening.
When voters approved voters approved a city wide referendum allowing medical marijuana in 1998, nobody expected it would take nearly 15 years and an act of Congress to provide medicine to patients.
After years of blocking funding, Congress finally gave approval to the medical marijuana program in 2009, which began a rigorous 3 year regulatory process for dispensaries which was only recently completed. Dispensaries were expected to open earlier this year, but the program faced numerous delays in the licensing procedure.
Now, for the nine patients currently enrolled in the District’s medical marijuana program, the wait is finally over.
Operators of Capital City Care say the dispensary, located less than two miles from the White House, is the strictest, most tightly regulated marijuana dispensary in the country.
Security measures include the verification of cardholders’ ID with a patient database, surveillance cameras, and bio metric locks preventing access to unauthorized areas, including marijuana storage areas.
Under the law, D.C. Health Department officials will oversee the creation of as many as eight facilities to dispense medical cannabis to authorized patients. Qualifying D.C. patients will be able to obtain medical cannabis at these dispensaries, but are not be permitted under the law to grow their own medicine.
Only residents of the District will be allowed to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana from the dispensaries each month, and transactions will be subject to the District’s sales tax.
At least three other medical marijuana dispensaries — Herbal Alternatives, Metropolitan Wellness Corporation, and Takoma Wellness Center — are expected to open this year.
First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Finally Opens in Washington DC was written by Thomas H. Clarke and appears in full on The Daily Chronic. ©2013
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