The Bates Area Civic Association is opposing a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on North Capitol and O streets NW. Most noteworthy in the submission is this bit:

[…] addition to medical marijuana dispensary at close proximity to the existing services on the North Capitol Street corridor would jeopardize the safety of the clients in need of medical marijuana and would most likely contribute to on an increase in violent crimes and property crimes […]

What this means: The association thinks the neighborhood is simply too dangerous for a weed dispensary.

And crime isn’t exactly infrequent on that stretch of North Capitol, as the BACA points out in its letter. But planned security measures at dispensaries would seem to address most fears. They have, after all, surveillance cameras, safes, and panic buttons.

But BACA President Geovani Bonilla says those measures mostly protect the weed and the workers—not the people heading in and out of the facility.

“Medical marijuana is not covered by health insurance, so it is a cash business,” Bonilla says. “You have a medically fragile population coming in with $300 in cash to buy an ounce of marijuana.” He notes that people in advanced stages of cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma are easy targets for the criminally inclined.

Still, Bonilla says he understands that there need to be dispensaries in Ward 5. And to that end, he’s advocating to have them placed at medical facilities like Providence Hospital or Washington Hospital Center. “If [a dispensary] is a medical facility, then a medical office building is a more ideal scenario.”

Photo by erissiva via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 license.