D.C. Advances Medical Cannabis Program, Receives 17 Dispensary Applications

Finally, some good news in the medical cannabis industry.

Washington D.C. appears to be moving full steam ahead with its MMJ program, even as other areas of the country enact moratoriums, launch raids, delay the adoption of medical pot regulations and overturn rules in an effort to ban dispensaries completely.

Seventeen entrepreneurs and groups submitted official applications by this week’s deadline to open medical marijuana centers in the District, hoping to land one of five licenses the city will award in the coming months. Each applicant forked over a $2,500, non-refundable fee for a shot at a permit. The winning dispensaries will more or less be able to set up shop wherever they want, as long as it’s not within 300 feet of a school or recreation center.

In a separate process, the city will also award 10 licenses for marijuana grow sites. Officials received 28 applications – with some individuals applying for two locations – by the Sept. 16 deadline. Most of the applicants want to locate in the same area of the city, and some even in the same building.

If all goes according to plan, cultivation operations will soon receive the go-ahead to start growing marijuana and dispensaries will begin selling pot to registered patients by summer.

The fact that D.C.’s medical cannabis program remains on schedule is notable in and of itself, as several states that recently legalized medical cannabis – such as New Jersey and Arizona – have dragged their feet in setting up an MMJ infrastructure.

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