Pot Shop to Open Under Politicians' Noses

By Chrisanne Grise 04/05/13

After a long struggle, a medical marijuana dispensary will open in DC, just blocks from the Capitol.

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The President's new neighbors. Photo via

Washington DC’s first legal marijuana store is preparing to open this spring—just seven blocks from the US capitol. The Metropolitan Wellness Center, which will sell pot, pipes and THC-infused baked goods, is set to open its doors to licensed medical-pot users in an estimated two to eight weeks, along with two other dispensaries in the District. “The second we get the green light, we're open," says founder Mike Cuthriell. Getting to this point has been no easy feat; Cuthriell has spent two years preparing, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment, and submitting an application that was almost 300 pages long. "I created manuals on how to smoke a bowl, how to pack and smoke cannabis [from a pipe], because that was part of my education material [for patients],” he explains. "I created job descriptions for the people that were going to work there. I created all my financials." Cuthriell, who works in education technology, was first inspired to open the store after talking to a terminally ill coworker in 2010. He discovered that DC had recently begun approving marijuana sellers—if they were willing to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops. Cuthriell was willing. He says he "literally put 500 to 1,000 hours into it in the first year and a half." And now, the dispensary just waits for the Department of Health to approve an application process for medical marijuana patients. Cuthriell is not biding his time, saying: “Every day we’re asking the department when this is coming.”

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices, AbsolutePunk.net, Chorus.fm, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.