Discussions of the proposed medical marijuana dispensary on Blair at 4th, to be called Takoma Wellness Center, have been held at the June Takoma DC Neighborhood Association membership meeting and the June ANC 4B meeting, The next discussion will be at the July 12 ANC 4B07 single member district meeting, 7 pm at the Lamond-Riggs Rec Center, 20 Tuckerman St NE.

Letter from the proposers:

Dear neighbors and friends,

We are grateful to all of you who attended the TDCNA meeting Tuesday evening. We really enjoyed meeting many people we had not yet met, as well as seeing faces that are becoming familiar as we attend more and more community gatherings (including Council Member Bowser). The conversation was warm and supportive and we are now carefully investigating the suggestions several of you made.

We also appreciate the discussion here on the listserv. We are engaged in an important process that has only just begun. Here's where we now stand, as we understand it:

Rather than implement the initiative that was drafted in the very early days of medical marijuana legislation (1998), the DC Council took time to carefully review best and worst practices of other communities and amend the original law. In January, the Public Safety and Health Committees began a process that included a public hearing in the Council chambers in February and culminated with a new law that was unanimously approved by the DC Council on April 20 and May 4. The Mayor signed the law on May 25 and it was transmitted to Congress on June 3.

Yesterday's Washington Post (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/debonis/2010/06/house_republicans_move_to_bloc.html) reminds us that officials elected by people in Utah, Ohio, and Georgia think they know what's best for DC and they hope to, again, thwart the will of the people of the District of Columbia. We will not know if they will prevail until the end of next month. If the law passes Congressional Review, the next step will be for the Mayor's Office to send proposed rules and regulations to the DC Council for approval. We understand the Mayor's Office has been working on the rules and regs since early spring and that the Council plans to review them carefully.

Once the law and all the rules and regulations are in place (several months from now), the Council will call for applications from the public for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers. We don't know anything about the application process other than once it is completed, the affected ANCs will be notified and then they will hold hearings on the specific applications and take a vote. That vote will be given "great weight" in the decision to award a license. By the way, it was our Council Member Bowser who wisely gave great weight to the wishes of the neighborhood.

These are still early days in a process that will lead to a dramatic, but small change in the DC drug laws. Even though this law will make marijuana legal ONLY for very sick people under very strict conditions, making marijuana legal for anyone is a dramatic change that calls for a great deal of discussion and consideration. That's why we want to begin the conversation now, months before a decision is made, so that each of us can make a well-reasoned, informed choice.

We grow increasingly convinced that the Takoma Wellness Center will be the right fit for Takoma, DC, but these are still early days. We want to spend these months meeting with neighbors, community leaders and activists, business leaders and merchants, pastors, youth workers, and health care providers - every segment of our community - to engage in dialogue. Takoma Wellness Center will always be a work in progress, but never more than now.

We hope that ANC 4B will open, not close, a conversation with us now. We want a partnership, not an adversarial relationship. They are our elected representatives and, if - like us - you live, work, and/or shop in Takoma, DC, we hope you will call on our Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to open, not close, a conversation with us now so that all of us can make an informed decision later this year. You might suggest that they invite us to a future ANC meeting to make a presentation. Monday's meeting has an agenda filled with many more timely and pressing issues.

Our Takoma, DC commissioners are Sara Green (ancsaragreen@yahoo.com), Judi Jones (cariblamond@yahoo.com), and Faith Wheeler (fewdcc@gmail.com). Please email our commissioners today or make your thoughts known here. We understand they monitor this list. Please encourage them to give us a full consideration.

And, please email or call us with thoughts, questions or concerns. Help us create a center that truly reflects the spirit and values of Takoma.

We will keep you posted of our progress through the listserv. We will also be updating our website (www.takomawellness.com) and our FaceBook page (Takoma Wellness Center). Please be in touch and let us know what you think.

Thanks so much!
Stephanie and Jeff on Blair