First legal DC marijuana patio to open ‘any day now’

While possessing marijuana is legal in D.C., smoking the drug in public is still not allowed.

That is changing, however, at some local businesses that are licensed with the city to sell medical cannabis.

“You have to hold an active medical cannabis retailers license,” explained Sean Gordy, the chief licensing officer with the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA).

Retailers that have that license are allowed to apply with the ABCA for the ability to run a “summer garden,” which permits the consumption of medical cannabis in a “private outdoor space.”

Applications are subject to a 45-day public comment period.

“It’s not like a sidewalk cafe on public property,” Gordy said. “These are spaces on private property.”

National Holistic Healing Center in the Dupont Circle area is the first retailer in D.C. to be approved by the ABCA to run a summer garden, although it still must be finalized.

Owner Chanda Macias said she expects that to happen “any day now.”

“We have completed everything that was required,” Macias said. “We’re just waiting for the final certificate allowing our license to be issued.”

Macias said she hopes the outdoor space will be up and running by this summer.

“The summer garden is an addition on the back of the building which has access to open air,” Macias said. “It is so important to give patients access, especially in a rapidly growing medical field in cannabis.”

What if neighbors complain about people gathering and smoking marijuana outside?

“We’ll put in the necessary ventilation systems so that we’re very protective of our environment, our neighbors and really just making sure that our community is happy,” Macias said. “If there are any concerns from our community, the community knows that they can bring those concerns directly to us and we will address them.”

It is not clear how many summer gardens may ultimately be approved by the ABCA.

“It’s really difficult to tell, but to some degree I’m sure they’re going to become popular,” said Gordy.

The ABCA currently does not have a limit on how many summer gardens there can be in the city.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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