City Paper Coverage of BACA Resolution

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2012/05/07/neighbors-north-capitol-is-too-dangerous-for-a-weed-dispensary/

Neighbors: North Capitol Is Too Dangerous For A Weed Dispensary

Posted by Shani Hilton on May. 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm

The Bates Area Civic Association is opposing a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on North Capitol and O streets NW. Most noteworthy in the submission is this bit:

[…] addition to medical marijuana dispensary at close proximity to the existing services on the North Capitol Street corridor would jeopardize the safety of the clients in need of medical marijuana and would most likely contribute to on an increase in violent crimes and property crimes […]

What this means: The association thinks the neighborhood is simply too dangerous for a weed dispensary.

And crime isn’t exactly infrequent on that stretch of North Capitol, as the BACA points out in its letter. But planned security measures at dispensaries would seem to address most fears. They have, after all, surveillance cameras, safes, and panic buttons.

But BACA President Geovani Bonilla says those measures mostly protect the weed and the workers—not the people heading in and out of the facility.

“Medical marijuana is not covered by health insurance, so it is a cash business,” Bonilla says. “You have a medically fragile population coming in with $300 in cash to buy an ounce of marijuana.” He notes that people in advanced stages of cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma are easy targets for the criminally inclined.

Still, Bonilla says he understands that there need to be dispensaries in Ward 5. And to that end, he’s advocating to have them placed at medical facilities like Providence Hospital or Washington Hospital Center. “If [a dispensary] is a medical facility, then a medical office building is a more ideal scenario.”


6 thoughts on “City Paper Coverage of BACA Resolution

  1. This is incorrect. I was at the meeting and City Ventures explained they are like any other business. In fact, he stated, most people pay with credit cards.

    1. Credit card’s or not… it still doesn’t change the fact that these folks are walking out of the place with an ounce of marijuana. They will be targets. Those which can genuinely benefit from medical marijuana will be better served by a medical facility where medical professionals can offer their expertise.

      The “business argument” (which is not actually made here) has never made sense to me either. There may be a marginal increase in tax revenue from this facility but, in the long run, the neighborhood will not benefit. Who wants to set up a shop next to a marijuana dispenser? It will be better to focus on attracting businesses that add value to the neighborhood rather than stifle growth the second they open their doors.

      1. I just want to stop the spread of false information. Additionally, getting press like this about the dangers of a neighborhood won’t be helpful in bringing any tenants to those buildings.
        In full disclosure I live on the unit block of O St and was in favor of the dispensary.

  2. Regarding the business aspect, I would like to see more information on the investors behind Venture Forth, LLC and the operating managers who are behind the project. This should include a portfolio of projects/businesses they have developed and run in the district.

    Do the investors/operators have a history of following through on projects and working w/ the neighborhood, or are they in it for a quick $$.? Given that this is a Brian Brown property, I have real concerns about who may be involved. Look no further than the ongoing firehouse fiasco.

  3. It will be sad to see vunerable patients hurt. The security staff will protect the business, who will protect the clients once they leave the establishment?

    1. The current security plan does have a security guard but to monitor the premise. The Executive Director did cite (did not produce) studies that indicate because of the external security cameras, crime is usually lowered in the area surrounding the dispensary.

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