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First DC Medical Marijuana Sales Made the Dispensary Owners “Ecstatic”

Capital City Care transacted historic first sales to two patients.

Capital City Care had its first two sales of medical marijuana on Monday. Takoma Wellness Center and Metropolitan Wellness Center say they are scheduling their first appointments with patients this week. Photograph courtesy of Capital City Care.

David A. Guard, one of the owners of Capital City Care, says he and his partners are “ecstatic” that they are finally open and able to sell medical marijuana in DC. The first sale happened on Monday, after the city’s Department of Health gave CCC the final clearance. “It’s one of those moments you’re going to have stuck in your mind forever,” he says. “Every business owner remembers their first customer. This is a lot more than that. It’s the end of a long, hard road and the beginning of something that’s going to change a lot of people’s lives for the better.”

It’s interesting how they found out they could begin selling, after months of waiting for the green light from the DC government. Because it was Monday and the beginning of the work week, CCC decided to get a status report on its longstanding application. “We went down to the Department of Health yesterday to check, and they said, ‘Hey, it’s ready,’” says Guard. And that was that. They opened and welcomed the first two patients of seven thus far who have been registered with the city to buy medical marijuana at the CCC facility on North Capitol Street. Guard expects to see the other patients Tuesday and Wednesday, as some have already called to set up appointments. Initially, the facility will see patients on an appointment-only basis.

How to Qualify for DC’s Medical Marijuana Program

If you suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, or symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis, you qualify for the program. You must also provide proof of residency in DC. Before applying through the Department of Health for a medical marijuana card, you must obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician whom you see on a regular basis. Once you have been approved by the DOH, you choose one of the three DC dispensaries to obtain your medicine, the name of which will appear on your patient ID card. Patients can purchase no more than two ounces of medical marijuana in any 30-day period.

The two who visited the facility yesterday bought standard packets—3.5 grams, or an eighth of an ounce. Total sales for the day were about an ounce and a half, Guard said. “Both [appointments] were within an hour,” he said. “They spent a little time in the facility because it is new to them. They were ecstatic to see the accessories room. Both of them actually bought vaporizers.” The CCC store carries a wide range of accessories, including the Volcano vaporizer, which runs for about $500. “It never misses,” said Guard. “You get about 93 percent of the cannabinoids out if you vaporize, and then you can use the cannabinoids in edibles.”

Under DC law, marijuana dispensaries are permitted to stock enough product to supply the patient base for 30 days. At the moment, CCC is stocked with four varieties: Blue Dream, which Guard calls the “value” strain, that runs $58 per eighth; Master Kush and OG Kush, which he calls “mid-grade” and runs $65 an eighth; and Jack Herer, “the highest-end sativa out there,” at $70 an eighth. While they hope to have their own grow house online in “a couple of weeks,” Guard says CCC got its first shipment from Holistic Remedies.

What was the first day of business like for them? “Crazy,” he says. “We were up until 11 last night,” taking calls from members of their board and the media. “We’re loving this. It’s what we’ve been waiting for for 15 years. Everyone is just thrilled.” Even his mother phoned.

Two more medical marijuana facilities also received the go-ahead from the DOH to begin operation this week. Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn of Takoma Wellness Center says his team is scheduling their first registered patients for appointments this week. Mike Cuthriell of Metropolitan Wellness Center says they are getting ready to purchase cannabis for resale and are currently coordinating appointments with new patients.

Before ending our conversation, we asked Guard if his group plans to get involved in the push to have marijuana possession decriminalized in DC. A majority of members of the City Council have signed a bill that would make the penalty for possession of up to an ounce comparable to a speeding ticket. But CCC is staying out of that debate. “That’s a larger issue for folks to decide,” Guard says. “We focus entirely on medical marijuana. We’re completely responsive to our patients and the community on medical marijuana, and on that solely.”

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