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What it'll be like to buy medical marijuana in D.C.

Thursday - 1/3/2013, 1:52pm  ET

A look inside D.C.'s marijuana dispensary

WTOP's Neal Augenstein

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Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Medical marijuana will go on sale in the District in March, but patients in need of its painkilling qualities can begin visiting Capital City Care dispensary next month.

The facility, located in a townhouse in the 1300 block of N. Capitol Street, will be the first of five dispensaries to open to the public.

David Guard, general manager of Capital City Care says only qualified patients -- those with cards from the D.C. Department of Health saying they they suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and severe muscle spasm conditions like multiple sclerosis -- will be allowed to purchase the pot.

Guard says patients will be required to show identification to security guards. At the reception desk, their ID gets checked against a database that the Department of Health will provide.

"They'll be able to select from between six and eight different strains that our cultivation experts selected specifically for the medicinal properties," says Guard.

Guard says the marijuana will not be consumed on premises, by D.C. law.

"Patients or their caregivers have to return immediately home with the medicine, and consume it only at their home or a medical facility that allows such things," says Guard.

Patients will be allowed to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana per month, at their doctors' recommendations, says Guard.

The marijuana will broken down into portions between an eighth-ounce and an ounce. Pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes will also be on sale.

"In our accessories rooms, we'll be selling water pipes and vaporizers, pipes, rolling papers -- all the typical items folks use when titrating medical marijuana," says Guard.

Marijuana remains illegal in the District of Columbia for people without prescriptions, but Guard says dispensary neighbors shouldn't be overly concerned about break-ins to steal the marijuana, which will be kept in safes.

Guard says studies shows crime rates go down in neighborhoods which house medical marijuana facilities because of increased security.

"Folks just don't really want to be committing crimes in front of secure area with lots of cameras," says Guard.

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