Would You Care if Medical Marijuana Were Sold in Georgetown?

Photo by Trawin.

GM touched on this the other day, but he thinks it’s worth a more substantial post: the Current reported on Wednesday that an unnamed individual is contemplating applying to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Georgetown. So, what do you think, would you care if he did?

Under the proposed regulations, five dispensaries will be allowed to open up across the city. Patients with certain serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or multiple sclerosis or other chronic conditions can qualify to receive up to two ounces of marijuana per month from approved dispensaries.

According to the Current article, the individual is considering a space on Wisconsin Ave. near the newly refurbished library. It’s not clear where that space could be. No dispensary can be opened within 300 feet of any school or “recreation center.”  GM’s not sure whether libraries count as recreation centers. But surely Jellef is one. Plus Hardy and the British School are pretty close to there.

Either way, assuming someone could open a dispensary in Georgetown, should they? In the Current article, ANC commissioner Bill Starrels was quoted saying that the individual’s desire to be anonymous indicated just how controversial the idea of opening a dispensary in “historic Georgetown” is.

The District is endeavoring to establish a more rigid regulatory regime than exists in jurisdictions like California. Nonetheless, some people will likely express concern over the idea of a medical pot dealer moving in to Georgetown. The complaints generally revolve around crime that would be attracted to the dispensaries. But there are disagreements on whether an increase in crime can be attributed to the introduction of dispensaries.

GM thinks there would not be an increase in crime. Think about it, why would there be an increase? Theoretically, criminals could be drawn to raid the dispensary and steal the drugs contained there. But lots of stores in Georgetown have very valuable items in them. Yet store robberies are rare (shoplifting, on the other hand, is a daily scourge that GM can’t remember ever hearing residents complain much about). All you need to rob a bank is a note and a hand in your pocket. Yet how often do Georgetown banks get robbed?

Theoretically, also, the patrons themselves could be targeted on the way out of the store. An ounce of weed has a street value of over $400. But you know what else has a high street value? iPhones. And people walk around with those everywhere. Hell, we even have a whole store to sell them. Should we close the Apple Store due to crime concerns?

If crime isn’t an issue, what else would be an issue? The regulations put strict restrictions on what goes on in a dispensary. The dispensary cannot be a joint doctor’s office-dispensary, which enables one stop pot shopping. Alcohol cannot be served on the premise. And the pot can’t be smoked there either. Furthermore, just about every element of the dispensary’s physical layout and signage will be rigorously vetted.

Most Georgetowners wouldn’t even know it’s there. But that’s just GM’s opinion. What do you think?


Filed under Zoning

15 responses to “Would You Care if Medical Marijuana Were Sold in Georgetown?

  1. I don’t think Georgetown landlords are overly concerned with what neighbors think, otherwise certain sections of Wisconsin Avenue would not look as they do. I would suspect that most Georgetown residents – apart from myself, who after more than a decade of living here still feels a need for antiseptic when walking past the “Pleasure Palace” – are probably in favor of medical marijuana. How much they will like having it in their neighborhood will depend on not only how progressive they consider themselves to be, but I suspect even more on how close their home is in proximity to the place.

  2. tom

    a good source for pros and cons –


    after reading much of the pros/cons it does not seem to be clear that it would be a safe and beneficial addition to Georgetown. Does our community really want to be one of the introducing neighborhoods within DC, when the cost/benefits are not clear?

  3. GM

    Thanks for the link Tom. I read that but saw no discussion of whether dispensaries are safe or not. Mostly it’s a discussion of whether to have medical marijuana in the first place, which isn’t the issue here. Did I miss something?

    I don’t think the question is whether we want to be first, but whether we have any legitimate reason to object (and in doing so, deny nearby sufferers of debilitating illnesses convenient access) if someone wants to open a dispensary in Georgetown.

  4. Charlie

    It strikes me that having an intensely regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Georgetown is not a bad thing, and, in fact, a good thing.

    The Safeway is located adjacent to Jelleff, and across the street from Hardy. They have a 24-hour pharmacy where they sell all sorts of drugs. I’ve never heard it suggested that having such a pharmacy is a threat to public safety or school aged children.

    Attention Chicken Little: The sky is NOT falling. Attention GBA/BID: Think of all the business opportunities that might come from having one of five dispensaries in our village. Attention folks with chronic pain or other medical conditions: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to shop near home?

    I’m confident necessary procedures are in place to assure any facility licensed to operate under this law, in Georgetown or otherwise, will never be allowed to have negative impacts on the community.

  5. Pingback: Vox Populi » Will Georgetown be the home of a marijuana dispensary?

  6. Gabriel

    Why don’t we all just agree to skip over the Medical Marijuana phase and go straight to the Methadone Clinic?

    It might be perfect in the old Scheele’s Market. I could also imagine it one of those low-rent shops on P near the Griffin Market. Or it could take over the space of the Old Print Gallery, which having been sold to a NYC competitor, is probably not long for this world.

    The downside is that all these sites would be a bit far for the boys and girls at GU. The upside, of course, is that East Georgetown would have an opportunity to test the convictions of its courage.

  7. EastGeorgetowner

    I think GM vastly overrates DC’s enforcement capacity to ensure that a dispensary does not become simply a “pot-shopping” store. DC’s enforcment of most regulations (besides parking, which is a revenue source) is so lax it is laughable. Besides, I truly doubt that Georgetown is one of the five areas in the city with the highest number of truly chronically ill people who legitimately need access to legal marijuana, which makes me wonder why the anonymous person chose this location — more likely the number of young people or nightlife seekers who come into Georgetown to party who would find the store an attraction or source for pot. This store will turn into a nuisance, and fast.

  8. josh

    no i would’nt mind everyone need weed one way or another! give it to them! legalize!!!!!!!

  9. asuka

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, Josh! We look forward to welcoming you and all your friends to the neighborhood!

  10. bob h.j.johnson

    what about the new weed that out here now is it safe for one to smoke i ask some one how was it thay said it just like the weed.but i don,t want to fine out later that it will kill me late

  11. KPE

    As a resident, I’d want the safety and nuisance issues to be studied. But if we find dispensaries neither dangerous nor a true nuisance, I wouldn’t object.

  12. JohnD

    I have the feeling that the term “historic Georgetown” really means we don’t want one of these places in “rich white Georgetown” and that is should really be placed where “those people” are going to need this.

    Well if you are talking about people who have HIV/AIDS, I beleive there are quite a few of “those people” living in Georgetown believe it or not. And if the stereotype of the rich old white ladies living there is true, I am sure there are many of them that are suffering from glaucoma and various diseases of the aged and would also be customers of this store.

    Do you really want your nice old white lady neighbor to have to go where “those people” are to buy her pot so she can keep her food down due to the nausea she has from the chemo she is on?

    Get over yourselves Gtown, we are all one city according to the new mayor and we need to start acting that way.

  13. James Custer McCarthy

    Not living in Georgetown, I’d like to know: Is there any kind of drug problem in your community? I am a retired engineer and active musician, and I have smoked pot since 1967. Now, getting older, I and my wife are poster ‘children’ for medical marijuana with our various ailments. But having said that, I must say that I have reservations about the whole MM issue. More on that later.
    GM states that a dispensary won’t cause problems, and that DC is insisting more stringent regulations, which I assume to mean the vetting of those who receive the prescriptions and keeping an eye on the dispensaries for appropriate behavior. The people involved with this are very anxious to have it succeed, and I expect that they will be careful to keep things legal and aboveboard. So it is unlikely to cause any disruptions.
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) has stated that their primary goal is to end the black market and its attendant violence, and to stem the enormous amount of American money fueling the Mexican drug cartels, which relies on marijuana sales for 60% of their income.
    My reservation is that America will think the job is done when the nation adopts MM. But since relatively few marijuana smokers are sick enough to warrant having permission for MM, what happens to the rest of the potheads? They will do what they have always done: hit the street and visit their black market dealer, which will keep the black market going. With its street violence, money to the cartels, and our children on the street looking for pot being exposed to the other drugs that street dealers sell, it behooves us to go the next step to achieve LEAP’s goal (and of course, they are but one of the many advocating this). That next step is full legalization, packaged pot sold in places where liquor is sold, under the same restrictions as liquor. This is the only way we can end the black market, hurt the cartels, and protect our children from the other illicit drugs out there. The health arguments against marijuana are superfluous, since pot smokers are going to continue whether it’s legal or not.
    Think about it.

  14. Jonathan

    A dispensary would attract druggies, bums, and teenagers, plain and simple. (ask california) We have enough of those.

    And if you really think its purpose is strictly medicinal, then it would be better situated in a part of town with higher HIV rates.

  15. Just wanted to chime in here. I’m a dispensary owner in California and have alot of friends who’ve opened up in the newer states. Alot of people are trying to get into the business and not knowing where to start. I too would like to see medical cannabis widely accessible have a free newsletter with free tips and tricks on how to get one open. The more we flex our rights, the more the feds will legalize access. Its a fun business also. It just shouldn’t be made so damned hard to get into. My free newsletter for any that are interested is at Start A Dispensary.

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