Medical marijuana is taking root in the District, and the News4 I-Team is giving you the first look at where the pot will grow.
Our investigation found 24 out of 28 applications for the District’s first medicinal marijuana cultivation centers are clustered in one Northeast area.
“We’re in the heart of the community where we have been traditionally plagued with crime and drugs for many, many years,” ANC 5B Commissioner Vaughn Bennett said. “This is just going to add to it.”
It’s unfair so many applications for cultivation centers are concentrated in neighborhoods like Ivy City and Trinidad, Bennett said.
“Who’s going to want to move in next to marijuana cultivation?” he asked.
Vaughn is going door to door letting residents like Jolm Adams know what could be moving in to the neighborhood.
"How are they going to deal with security?” Adams asked. “How are they going to deal with people buying their medical marijuana and then turning around and selling it? Those questions needs to be answered."
Adams lives just a few doors from one proposed site on Providence Street NE. Just around the corner, seven more applications for spots on Fenwick Street NE.
“We just fought to get rid of prostitutes,” said resident Lorenzo Crandle.
He said he’s particularly concerned about four applications to grow marijuana directly across the street from a popular gentleman’s club on Queens Chapel Road NE. He’s also worried about a location on New York Avenue NE where five different applicants and as many as 475 plants could end up sharing a building with two churches.
“We’re going to fight it,” Crandle said. “We’re going to fight it.”
Crandle showed up at a recent ANC 5B meeting where commissioners didn’t want the News4 I-Team shooting video.
"We don't film our ANC meetings,” ANC 5B Chair Regina James said.
She relented when reminded it was a public meeting.
Some of the applicants were at the meeting and told News4 they would have preferred to set up in other neighborhoods but ended up in ANC 5B because of a combination of D.C. zoning laws and cheap rent.
Many of the applicants are hoping to start selling the marijuana by late spring, which caused tempers to flare at the meeting as residents wondered aloud if it was already a done deal.
“We will do our best to serve in your interest and we will certainly make sure your views are represented," James said.
She said she thinks it’s inevitable that her neighborhood will end up with at least some of the sites but, “I don't believe it should be saturated all in one ward," she said.
James plans to hold at least two public meetings about the medical marijuana sites before December, when the city must make a final decision on where the pot factories will set up shop.