Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ category

District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative Holds Medical Marijuana Town Hall Meeting

February 11, 2011

Last night, February 10, 2011, the District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative (DCPC) organized a panel to discuss the District of Columbia’s medical cannabis program. The town hall meeting was held at All Souls Unitarian Church and started at 7 p.m.

I attended the meeting hoping to learn more about plans for dispensary locations, security, and possible crime and safety concerns … especially in light of the September, 2010, ANC 1A meeting at which concerns about all of these issues were raised after the Commission was contacted about its opinion of locating a dispensary on Georgia Avenue. These issues were largely absent from last night’s meeting. Rather, the focus of the meeting was primarily on the concerns of patients seeking information on qualifying for cannabis, getting a doctor’s recommendation, and the licensing of cultivation centers or dispensaries.

It seems that the chief obstacle preventing the implementation of medical marijuana is that Mayor Gray  has not finalized the draft regulations, which many had anticipated would be done by now. Until this is done, the Board that would run the program can not be created. This tends to leave things a bit up in the air.

To the subject of dispensaries, the following details were shared. A total of 5 are planed for the District. Their locations have not been decided, but DCPC hopes they are distributed throughout the city rather than in close proximity. Ideally, DCPC would have liked 8 dispensaries — one for each Ward — but that isn’t likely anytime soon.

Once the DC program begins, those interested in running a dispensary will have to pay a $5,000 application fee ($200 non-refundable) as well as get a license which will cost $10,000/year. Those interested in operating a dispensary will similarly need a license at a rate of $5,000/year.

Regarding safety, the following information was shared. Each proposed dispensary will go through a rating process, where 25% of the rating will be based on the applicant’s proposed security and 25% will be based on the location. Employees of dispensaries can not be felons or have a drug related misdemeanor on their record. For cultivation centers, when employees are present there must be a minimum of two staff on site, both of whom must have absolutely no record of drug related crimes.

Proponents of medical marijuana also point out that the difference between medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis is the difference between the compounds CBD (which eases pain) and THC (which creates the high) which occur in different quantities depending upon the cultivar. Because of this it was stated that the cannabis used for medicinal purposes is undesirable by those seeking to get high due to its lower THC levels.

The city estimates in its fiscal impact statement that there will be 800 registered patients and 400 registered caregivers the first year. Some feel this estimation is low.  The only real certainty I came away from the meeting with is that this issue is sure to come up again, there are still details that need to be decided, and nothing is definitive regarding the location of dispensaries.


Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center Cuts Ribbon, has Soft Opening

September 10, 2010

Mayor Fenty and Councilmember Graham were among those officially opening the Senior Wellness Center

With many of the area’s seniors in attendance, the opening ceremonies for the city’s newest Senior Wellness Center began shortly before 10:00 a.m. this morning.

The Ward One Senior Wellness Center at 3531 Georgia Avenue finally opened after nine years of false starts and waiting. During the opening speeches, Councilmember Graham recounted the long struggle to make the center a reality and lauded Fenty for his participation in making it a reality.

The $5.2 million facility contains 15,000 square feet of space on three floors. The building is pursuing LEED Silver Gold Green building Rating and contains solar panels for heating hot water in addition to a green roof.

While the center is not fully furnished, it is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Its features and amenities will eventually include programs focused on nutrition education, fitness, and computer training. The facility also includes conference rooms, handicapped parking by appointment, and an accessible roof with seating and a great view of the surrounding area.

Ward One is home to nearly 8,000 seniors.

Additional photos of today’s event can be seen after the jump (more…)

Medical Marijuana on Georgia Avenue?

September 10, 2010

One of the more interesting topics to be discussed at Wednesday’s (9/8/10) ANC1A meeting in a while was that of medical marijuana and the question of a dispensary on Georgia Avenue.

According to information shared at the meeting, ANC1A08 Commissioner Cliff Valenti was contacted a few weeks ago by an individual seeking feedback on the appropriateness of a dispensary for medical marijuana located on Lower Georgia Avenue. Most 1A commissioners indicated that they had not been monitoring this issue closely prior to this contact. Valenti additionally indicated that the caller seemed to be feeling out the neighborhood’s response as a result of Takoma Park’s resistance to a dispensary in their community.

There was general agreement and concern from the commissioners that Georgia Avenue was not an appropriate location for a marijuana dispensary, and concern that the current rules proposed for the management of the District’s new medical marijuana program, which will take effect January 1, 2011, weren’t sufficient. Several commissioners also expressed concern over impacts on crime and safety around dispensaries, citing increased crime around dispensaries in Denver, Colorado, and Sacramento, California. (more…)

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