Where will Washington's marijuana farm go?
If medical marijuana is really coming to the District, where exactly is it going to come from? Where exactly will those buds of D.C. Council-approved reefer (DuPont Gold? Kalorama Mama?) be grown?
The distribution clinics envisioned by the council won’t be able to plow up a patch of the National Mall for their crop--that's federal property--and neither Maryland nor Virginia can be the sites of the officially sanctioned farm because it remains very illegal to transport federally banned substances across state lines. That means the stuff will have to be cultivated in the decidedly urban precincts of the city itself.
To find out how they do it in California, I called Kris Hermes at Americans for Safe Access, a pro-pot advocacy group based in the Bay Area. He said clinics there obtain their legal marijuana in three main ways: from residential growers who produce a little more than they need for personal consumption; from outdoor farms in Northern California; and via warehouses tucked here and there in Oakland. Exactly where, few people know.
“Because regulation of marijuana cultivation is such a new phenomenon, even in California, we don’t really know much about the large-scale operations,” Hermes said. “Exactly where they are and how large they are is not really well known. Remember, this remains illegal under federal law.”
Given Washington’s distance from the pot patches of Humboldt County and given the mid-Atlantic's weather, Hermes predicted most of Washington’s marijuana would come from indoor farming.
“It’s more practical, albeit more expensive, to grow it in indoors,” Hermes said. “California has a much better climate than Washington D.C. for cannabis cultivation.” And for cannabis consumption, some say.
But where could those pot plants grow? We're looking for your suggestions--serious and not so much--about locations within the District and not on federal land that could plausibly be used for um, special agricultural purposes.
As the medical marijuana bill provides, any location would have to be well away from schools and probably not right up against residences either. The location would have to include enough space for multiple plants; provide a “robust” electrical system that could handle banks of 1,000-watt lamps; and have the potential to be well concealed or protected from interlopers.
“You want it in a closed, locked and concealed facility to protect yourself not only from federal law enforcement but from intruders who might want to break in and steal the marijuana,” Hermes said.
Readers, we ask you, where should the District plant its pot? Come ahead on the comment board below.
| January 25, 2010; 10:08 AM ET
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