|(Image courtesy Wikimedia)|
ANC2B voted nearly-identical letters of support for Herbal Alternatives LLC (1710 Rhode Island Avenue NW) and National Holistic Healing Center (1718 Connecticut Avenue).
Herbal Alternatives LLC received endorsement from ANC2B last year, but had to return because their original approval was at another address (1147 20th Street).
Jen Brunenkant of Herbal Alternatives LLC briefed ANC2B on its proposed location at 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue. It will be on the third floor of an office building. There will be a larger dispensary room and three smaller consulting rooms. Counseling will be given on nutrition and alternative forms of intake, such as by vapor.
Brunenkant told ANC2B medicial marijuana can only be consumed legally at the dispensary or in the patient's home. Under current DOH regulations, she said, medical marijuana can only be prescribed for patients with HIV, cancer, glaucoma, and certain motor diseases like multiple sclerosis. There will be a vote this month about whether to include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the list of conditions treatable by medical marijuana.
Brunenkart said she had notified her future neighbors, including a YMCA and a church, and she had not heard any objections.
Brunenkart also explained only one of the two dispensaries would be given permission to open by the DOH. The DOH is using a system of points to decide which dispensary will be given permission to open. ANC approval will garner each side some points. The dispensaries will also be evaluated on security, site suitability, educational brouchures, packaging, labeling, marketing, and other criteria.
Brunenkart also spoke about the medical marijuana situation generally in response to questions from Commissioners. She said D.C. doctors are reluctant deal with dispensaries.
"The problem D.C. is running into right now is the physicians," she said.
Commissioner Kishan Putta (district 04) asked why.
"They're concerned about the legality," Brunenkart replied. Many doctors are connected to university hospitals as well, which are worried about endangering federal funding by finding themselves on the wrong side of this issue.
When it was time to question representatives of the National Holistic Healing Center, it was agreed that most questions had been answered already. This establishment was represented by a doctor from Howard University who specialized in infectious diseases. The dispensary will be located in the basement of 1718 Connecticut Avenue. It will cover about 1500 square feet and provide one-on-one consulting with patients.
Both establishments comply with legal requirements as far as distance from certain types of establishments, like day care centers and half-way houses for former drug addicts.
After hearing both of the petitions, ANC2B added to its endorsements some language saying that there is no overconcentration of medical marijuana dispensaries in Ward Two (in fact, there are none). Commissioners indicated they would welcome both establishments. ANC2B Chair Will Stephens (Commissioner for district 08) suggested saying in a cover letter to the DOH about the endorsement that the ANC had no problem with having two medical marijuana dispensaries.
The vote was unanimous, with one Commissioner temporarily out of the room.
According to the web site of the Marijuana Policy Project, there are three medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in D.C.: Metropolitan Wellness Center at Eastern Market, Capital City Care on North Capitol Street, and Takoma Wellness Center in Takoma Park.