Today, the D.C. Department of Health announced that it was opening a month-long application process for the 10 cultivation centers that will be part of the city’s slowly evolving medical marijuana program.
Between April and June, over 50 hopefuls filed letters of intent with the District outlining their plans to apply for a license to run one or multiple cultivation centers throughout the city. Those that met basic criteria are now allowed to file full applications, which come with a steep $5,000 application fee, only $2,500 of which is refundable.
Once the full applications are received — the closing date is September 16 — a five-member committee will choose the lucky winners based on a number of factors, including security plans and input from ANCs where they plan on locating. (Ward 5 seems to be go-to spot for cultivation centers, but we’ve heard of possible locations everywhere from Capitol Hill to Tenleytown.) Each cultivation center will be limited to 95 plants, and city officials expect the program to be fully operational by May 2012.
Of course, like much of the program’s development to date, there are still uncertainties and unanswered questions that are likely to upset impatient advocates. Notably: while applications for cultivation centers are now available, the same application for the five dispensaries that will actually get the marijuana to qualifying patients is not. (Cultivation centers are not allowed to service patients directly.)
Additionally, the Department of Health gave additional notice today that a new set of rules governing the program are forthcoming on August 12; once out, these will be the fourth version of the program’s rules rolled out since last year. In today’s notice, the Department of Health warns that “some of the application requirements have changed,” but applicants won’t know until next week which ones have changed. Finally, though the notice says that the application will be available electronically on the Department of Health website, it hasn’t yet been posted as of this story.
We’ve reached out to the Department of Health for answers, but haven’t heard back yet. Once we do, we’ll update.