The dispensary denies the allegations as “false,” “inflammatory,” and “baseless,” and is suing the city.
It was supposed to be completely routine. Once a quarter, players in D.C.’s medical marijuana scene get together with the Department of Health (recently renamed DC Health) to share updates. But when they all met up on a brisk day last October, the Department had big news. In 2017, the agency had solicited applications for a single new dispensary in Ward 7, which was a huge business opportunity: One finalist for the spot predicted that if they got the license, they’d bring in almost $16 million annually within a few years of opening. Only one company could get approved, though, and that day, the Department revealed that after a long, extremely competitive (and, it would later be revealed, rather bizarre) process, they’d crowned a winner: Charmed L.L.C.
Andy Hai Ting, one of Charmed’s owners, was there to accept his entrée into the hallowed elite of D.C. bud. But something he said that day later proved fateful: He told everyone he was there to represent the new dispensary, Charmed, and also to represent another dispensary, Dupont Circle’s National Holistic Healing Center (NHHC). This seemingly innocuous comment apparently prompted a months-long investigation into his business—an investigation that would end with DC Health accusing him of lying to the department, attempting to skirt the rules and open a “front” for two of the cannabis industry’s most prominent entrepreneurs. And for one attendee, Rabbi Jeffrey Khan, co-owner of the dispensary Takoma Wellness Center, Hai Ting’s comment came as a shock. “We were confused and surprised,” he recalls, “and wondered if the Department of Health had changed the regulations.”
The District’s anti-monopoly rules forbid anyone from applying to hold more than one marijuana dispensary license, a rule designed to keep the medical cannabis industry from being dominated by chains and big business. [Read More @ Washington City Paper]