Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington, D.C., for more than two years, and this spring, patients will finally be able to benefit.
The district's first dispensary, Capital City Care, hopes to open its doors to the public at the beginning of April, according to WJLA. General manager David Guard assured reporters that his business will adhere to the strictest laws in the nation.
"The receptionist will double check your ID, issued by the Department of Health, against their database," Guard told WJLA. "I am very excited. This is a dream come true."
Though medical marijuana officially became legal in D.C. in January 2011, an arduous permitting process has delayed any dispensaries from opening until now. In addition to Capital City Care, city officials have approved three pot shops and six growing facilities. Residents with specific conditions--as recommended by a doctor--will be able to purchase up to two ounces a month.
Guard noted that not only will his store help sick patients, but, in WJLA's words, he also hopes it will "help clean up a blighted neighborhood." The dispensary, located at 1334 North Capitol St. NW, will be well equipped with security cameras and biometric locks.
In recent years, medical marijuana has become a contentious national issue, as the plant remains illegal on a federal level. The Justice Department has continued to crack down on states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, especially in California, where hundreds of dispensaries have been forced to shut down over the past year and a half.
White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske recently acknowledged that the Obama administration, which previously claimed it would not go after medical marijuana in states that had legalized it, should establish a clear policy.
"The administration has not done a particularly good job of one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue," he told Canada's Maclean's Magazine earlier this month, "and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy."
Obama has yet to signal whether he will go after medical marijuana operations in D.C.