Northwestern D.C. Could Become Hub for Marijuana Growers

Talk about one-stop shopping for wholesale medical marijuana. Most of the individuals and groups hoping to start cultivation centers in Washington, D.C., are eyeing not only the same area, but in some cases also the same buildings.

All but two of the 22 applicants looking to operate growing facilities in the District of Columbia want to set up shop in Ward 5, which is located in the northwestern part of the city and ranks as one of the largest of D.C.’s eight wards. Most of the would-be cultivation centers are targeting a specific sliver of the ward, while 11 applications list one of two specific buildings. A total of 28 applications were submitted, with some individuals applying for two locations.

The location makes sense. The ward – which has a fair share of strip clubs and commercial operations – offers enough space to house grow operations. There are fewer schools and daycare centers in Ward 5 than in other parts of the District (cultivation centers must be at least 300 feet away from these institutions). It’s also a cheaper area of D.C., which is ideal for a startup operation that doesn’t have to deal directly with consumers and it part of a fledgling industry.

Economic development officials often talk about the need to develop “clusters” of related businesses. So why not a marijuana cultivation cluster?

The Department of Health hopes to whittle down the application pool to 10 finalists by late January. Local officials will also approve several applications for dispensaries in the months to come, though the intended locations of those is not yet known.