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Old 03-31-2012, 03:43 AM   #1
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Default D.C. Picks Six Companies To Grow Medical Marijuana

The District has selected six companies to grow marijuana and supply medical cannabis to users — clearing the way for growers to start producing hundreds of plants in as little as a month.The Health Department is expected to announce Friday that it has selected the winning bidders for cultivating plants that will feed the dispensaries city officials hope to approve by the summer. All the growers will be in Northeast, including a company partly owned by celebrity talk show host Montel Williams.
Combined, they will be tasked with producing thousands of plants annually, in possible violation of federal law.
Two years ago, the D.C. Council voted to establish as many as 10 cultivation centers, where up to 95 marijuana plants could be grown at a time at each location. Once harvested, the marijuana will be sent to five distribution centers for patients to buy.
Mohammad N. Akhter, director of the Health Department, said he and a task force evaluated dozens of bidders before selecting the six applicants. Akhter said they were chosen based on their ability to grow “quality” marijuana “in a safe environment” that includes heavy security.
Akhter said he also tried to ensure that the cultivation centers were not too tightly clustered in the same blocks.
“I have taken every single step that I could to make sure this is done in a safe environment in which we can have a quality product that can meet the needs of the patient in a way that the community is also satisfied,” he said in an interview. “These are the best people who can do the best job.”
Williams’s cultivation center, Abatin Wellness Center, has been approved for the 2100 block of Queens Chapel Road in Langdon, according to a city list obtained by The Washington Post.
The department also selected Montana Apothecary dba Alternative Solutions in the 2100 block of 24th Place NE in Langdon; District Growers in the 2400 block of Evarts Street NE in Langdon; Holistic Remedies in 1800 block of Fenwick Street NE in Ivy City; Phyto Management in the 3700 block of Benning Road NE in Benning; and Venture Forth dba Center City in the 2200 block of Channing Street NE in Langdon.
Before the applicants can open, however, Akhter said they must apply for their business license and building permits from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. He added that the permitting process may take less than two weeks, meaning the marijuana growers may be able to start production in less than a month.
But Helder Gil, a spokesman for DCRA, said it could take some providers longer to open if they plan to make major renovations, including additional electric or water supplies.
“If they are just doing minor stuff . . . they can get a building permit quickly and then come in and get the sign-off,” Gil said.
The Health Department does not expect to complete the approval process for dispensaries until June.
“It takes about 90 days to grow the plants and have them ready,” Akhter said. “By the time growers are ready with the plants, the dispensaries should be in operation.”
But the District could still face big challenges in the implementation of its medical marijuana program.
In recent weeks, some residents and community activists fought attempts to open the cultivation centers in their neighborhood.
In January, D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At large) successfully pushed to limit the number of cultivation centers that could operate in Northeast. Last week, council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) won approval of a bill barring cultivation centers from high-profile retail corridors — including the location Phyto Management wants to open on Benning Road.
It was not clear Thursday night how the bill would affect the company’s plans, but Alexander pledged to work with the group to find a new location.
The fight over the cultivation centers could pale in comparison with the community opposition that could surface as the Department of Health reviews the applicants to run the distribution centers. But under the law, they are not allowed 300 feet from a school, recreation center or a city park.
Another challenge could come from law enforcement officials because, under federal law, the sale or possession of medical marijuana is illegal. Federal authorities have declined to publicly sanction the program, which restricts patients to no more than 2 ounces of marijuana per month.
But Akhter said he remains optimistic that the city’s program will withstand legal scrutiny, citing his view on the medical benefits of marijuana.
Under the city regulations, patients suffering from cancer, HIV-AIDS, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma qualify for the program.
“I know one thing for sure, there are a lot more dangerous drugs that we prescribe,” said Akhter, a former senior associate dean for public and international health at Howard University College of Medicine. “We made this program exactly like for other drugs we prescribe for other purposes.”
Although medical marijuana patients will not be able to grow their own marijuana, the District’s first purveyor of medical pot supplies plans to open on Rhode Island Avenue NE on Friday.
WeGrow, a company billing itself as the “Wal-Mart of Weed,” will sell materials needed to cultivate and care for the plants, but not the plants or seeds themselves.
Staff writers Mike DeBonis and Katie Rodgers contributed to this report.
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Author: Tim Craig
Published: March 30, 2012
Copyright: 2012 Washington Post Company
Contact: letters at washpost.com
Website: hXXp://www.washingtonpost.com/
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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Control and picking winners...... typical govt practice these days...... I guess they got the prices picked out they are going to let them charge the customer....... not sure this is legal MMJ........ how much are they gonna let you buy at one time...... hoops to jump through...... more hoops...... here a hoop there a hoop..... hoops...... many many hoops. next they are gonna be in your closet with hoops to jump through.

sorry for the rant...... I feel better now
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:00 PM   #3
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including a company partly owned by celebrity talk show host Montel Williams.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Mohammad N. Akhter, director of the Health Department, said he and a task force evaluated dozens of bidders before selecting the six applicants. Akhter said they were chosen based on their ability to grow “quality” marijuana “in a safe environment” that includes heavy security.
I would have liked to be this guy Only way I know how to judge quality marijuana is to smoke it.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:02 PM   #5
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It's all good when the only Federal district in the US does this, but when Oakland tried, we got threatened with Federal intervention.
The takeover is starting.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:15 PM   #6
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The thing that gets me is DC has basically open their door for the Big Biz only Companys to grow. with 6 Co only allowed to grow mmj how are they going to be able to supply everyone with the different strains for them to be able to find the strain that works best for each different person. Their not allowing ppl to grow their own meds is just a way for the law makers to say " You will buy from who we want and take what they have or you will do without, the relief you need for your pain and suffering."
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzydiodude
with 6 Co only allowed to grow mmj how are they going to be able to supply everyone with the different strains for them to be able to find the strain that works best for each different person."
They're not - with 6 cultivation centers (for now) and 95 plant max per center, they're either going to have to grow mammoth trees with all the veg time that takes, or flower smaller plants and be chronically short on supply.
They might keep up at first while people are still qualifying and enrolling, but DC has a huge percentage of HIV/AIDS patients in addition to all the cancer, MS and glaucoma pts. that you'd expect (the only 4 qualifying indications - for now).

People are pushing for home cultivation, and maybe once the supply/demand gets all out of whack they'll consider it. Fingers crossed.

It really is one of the most restrictive MMJ programs in the country, if not THE most - but look where it is - the nation's friggin' capitol, home to most of the federal agencies that still say mmj is a schedule 1 substance with no medical value. So IMO this is significant and if it gets off the ground and nobody screws up, it could pave the way for big changes. Maybe Federal changes, who knows?

Also, a grow shop (called WeGrow) that specifically caters to medical marijuana growers opened up in DC yesterday. That takes some cojones, esp since home cultivation is still illegal as ever. Interesting times.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:15 AM   #8
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As they bust everyone else, they are paying growers??? I don't get it?? Big Biz.rules...
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