The District Department of Health has notified four businesses on Tuesday, letting them know that they have cleared the last major hurdle and are now eligible to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, D.C. Their next step is to acquire permits and begin the normal process of opening businesses within the District of Columbia.
Yesterday, medical marijuana activists, including the group Americans for Safe Access, rallied outside the D.C. Department of Health to demand that the District begin registering new patients.
"We are here to stand up for medical marijuana patients who are waiting to register for D.C. medical marijuana program," said the ASA's Kayley Whalen, an organizer for the event.
Two years after medical marijuana was legalized in D.C., patients still have no access to it.
On Thursday, Washington, D.C.'s health department announced that of the seventeen original applicants, four medical marijuana dispensary applicants have advanced to the next stage of the District's official approval process.
Health Department spokeswoman Najma Roberts stated that 'the list is pretty final,' suggesting that the remaining 13 applicants will not have an opportunity during this round to garner enough points to move onto the next stage.
Last October, head shops in Washington D.C. were raided by police due to local paraphernalia laws, including Capitol Hemp. It was reported today that as part of a deal with prosecutors, Capitol Hemp will be closing its two locations.
According to DCist, Capitol Hemp's two stores were raided in October of last year, and co-owners Adam Eidinger and Alan Amsterdam were officially charged in December after turning themselves in pursuant to a warrant issued.
Today, DCist reports that as part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Capitol Hemp co-owner Eidinger agreed to close the two stores - in Adams Morgan and Chinatown - by August. "In exchange," says the DCist, "any prosecution for the attempted sale of drug paraphernalia will be put off." This agreement came after months of discussions with prosecutors over what charges the co-owners could face and how it would impact the stores.
During the October raids, Eidinger lost over $300,000 worth of merchandise, which he has not been able to get back. As part of the deal, he will receive the confiscated merchandise, which he plans on trying to return to vendors to recoup some of his losses.
Capitol Hemp has been open since 2008.