The Medical Marijuana Dispensary is not the first issue that has created different schools of thoughts in our community; I still remember the issues surrounding the J.F. Cook building and The Latin American Youth Center. The key issue is how to we allow each other to present our views, respect those views (even though we may not agree with them) and allow for everyone to have a voice in the process?
Arguments can be made for and against a dispensary in our community that does not make one side right and the other one wrong, just on opposing views on one issue. There are other issues we do agree on.
Public Safety – reality is that crime statistics are public records (you can find them on the Washington Post Real Estate section with home listings). Any business going into an area reviews crime statistics as part of their due diligence. Reality is that as neighbors, we need to work together to improve public safety. MPD Crime Statistics Public Record
Economic Development – There is a need for businesses along the North Capitol corridor. North Capitol Main Street and DSLBD have done economic development assessments of the area, and the conclusion were that the saturation of different types of facilities and social services (Medical Marijuana Dispensary IS NOT a social service) such as: mental health clinics, substance abuse counseling centers, and liquor stores (all legitimate healthcare providers and businesses) prevent economic development south of Florida Avenue. So how do we work with the Office of Planning now that the Mayor (through the efforts of our ANCs and Civic Associations) has allocated the money for a small area plan? How do we work with North Capitol Main Street and DSLBD to do store front improvements on existing businesses, support and promote those businesses to attract the types of businesses the community wants?
As we move through this process, I hope we address the issue and respect different opinions. There are so many issues we agree on and that we need to work on.
The reality is that we may very likely have a Medical Marijuana Dispensary at the 1300 Block of North Capitol Street NW. So the goal if this happens is to work with the facility to address community concerns, have a solid security plan and engage the community as a partnership. How do we monitor impact the dispensary has on our community and have a process for addressing that impact?