Medical pot dispensaries to open in D.C.

While the DoJ cracks down on medical marijuana nationwide, operators plan to open on its door step

By Natasha Lennard
Published May 13, 2013 4:08PM (EDT)

In recent months the Justice Department has overseen harsh crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries in states like California where the sale of the drug for medical purposes has been legalized. As we noted earlier this month, a U.S. attorney is threatening California landlords housing medical marijuana dispensaries with 40 years in federal prison. Now the DoJ will contend with medical marijuana on its doorstep, as dispensaries plan to open in D.C.. Under district law, the highly regulated dispensaries will be legal, but illegal under the federal system. The unusual and delicate interplay between district and federal policy in the capital leaves the question open as to whether feds will intervene with dispensaries as they have in other states. Dispensaries are expected to open at the end of this month

Via McClatchy:

Medical marijuana was approved in the district in 1998, though Congress, which controls the city's budget, blocked implementation until recently...

Marijuana has had its place on the federal government's Schedule 1 listing of illegal substances without a known medical use and a high potential for abuse since 1970 as part of the Controlled Substances Act.

"The fact that the District of Columbia can pass it legally, and the District of Columbia is in the land of the federal government ... is a contradiction and it speaks to the fact that federal law needs to sort of get on board with what more states are saying," [Vanessa West, general manager of planned D.C. dispensary Metropolitan Wellness Center] said.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

D.c. Department Of Justice Federal Law Marijuana Medical Marijuana War On Drugs