The Foggy Bottom neighborhood could soon be home to one of the District’s first medical marijuana shops.
A small startup called Herbal Alternatives sought approval from the neighborhood’s top advocacy group May 16 to move forward with its dispensary license application, which must also receive final approval from the D.C. Department of Health.
Owner Jennifer Brunenkant plans to turn in final paperwork this week for her cannabis business, which was selected in April as one of four shops allowed to move ahead with the licensing process.
Marijuana would come from one of the District’s six cultivation centers, all located in Northeast D.C., approved March 30. D.C. law prohibits centers from growing the drug on site.
Only patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or muscle dysfunction symptoms can purchase medical marijuana in D.C., according to a law passed in March 2010.
Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission weighed in on the business, which lies on its jurisdiction line with a storefront facing Dupont Circle, but decided not to vote on the application because that area’s ANC had already signed off on the shop. The store would be located between L and M streets on 20th Street.
Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Donald Craig, who oversees the proposed dispensary location, initially expressed concern over potential “snatch and grab” of the bags once patients leave the facility. After hearing Brunenkant’s pitch, which included on-site guards during business hours and electronic security systems, he said the facility seemed secure.
“Since [Herbal Alternatives] will have the bags numbered, if it ever does occur, then we would be able to tie the items back to the owner and or the facility,” Craig said in an email. “And that is very helpful for us.”
Brunenkant presented to the Dupont Circle group May 7. Commissioner Kevin O’Connor said the organization approved the business’ application to give local residents access to the medical service because they did not foresee any significant negative impacts to the area.
The Department of Health will send out final approvals with Mayor Vincent Gray’s signature by June 25.
Medical marijuana use is permitted in 16 states and D.C.